Perimenopause Fitness: A New Fitness Challenge

Your fitness dreamer is about to share some very intimate details with you about finding fitness in your 40’s. If you are older you can commiserate, as many of my friends have.

danger-menopause-fitness

If you are younger I am passing on information I wish I had paid more attention to when I was in my 30’s. It’s not meant to scare the crap out of you.

Your body changes overnight and when you least expect it.

At least it felt that way. I swear the moment I turned 43 my eyesight took a downhill slide. One day I could read the back of that Coconut Milk carton, and the next I had to move it a good 8 inches further away to avoid the cross-eye blurriness that had become my close reading distance.

Do you believe in the power of suggestion? Until my last check up when my Dr. asked if I was having trouble sleeping through the night did I realize, yes. Occasionally I do have trouble sleeping through the night.

The follow up questions felt a bit too familiar.

  1. Sex drive low? Umm. Kind of.
  2. Hot Flashes? If my normal temperature is frozen, does a sudden ability to feel my toes and fingers count?
  3. Mood swings? No. Of course not. My husband may mutter something different when out of my earshot.
  4. Have PMS symptoms worsened? PMS was a at a mild annoyance level for years. Now my symptoms are on steroids.

About 6 months before this lovely annual check-up, I noticed another weird shift. I was being surprised by my period. Now I play the game of ‘Am I starting my period or not?’ every 2 weeks or so.

That seems like a ridiculous situation to be in as a professional woman in my 40’s. I should have a handle on this by now, right?

I did have a handle on it. Just not on the new calendar my body was currently following.

Lately the addition of new projects, launches, personal achievement has trumped what used to be my first priority: training for triathlon.

I noticed a correlation that is pretty obvious as I look back on the last 6-8 months. The farther I fell off my fitness training plan, the more these symptoms seemed to bug me.

Guess what the #1 solution is to reduce your perimenopause symptoms?

EXERCISE

I knew this before I read the research article at Menopause Health Center on WebMD.

I knew exercise was super helpful in improving mood, outlook, reducing stress and maintaining a healthy outlook on life. I’d used it for all those reasons before.

Now I had to apply the same reasoning for getting back to my own fitness goals with this new solution in mind.

Sorry ladies, but I am proof positive perimenopause fitness is working. Most days.

I’ll add a small caveat to this fix for so many perimenopause symptoms.

Workout. Hard.

Exercise works well when you work out smarter. Small changes in your routine can make all the difference.

Up your cardio

  • What you have been doing: Regular 30 minute cardio three times a week
  • Switch it up: Take it up a notch and make that 5-7 times a week. More often is a habit that can help you build the increased fat burning help we need well into menopause.

Stretch it out

  • What you have been doing: Saying you are stretching after every workout. At least you mean to.
  • Switch it up: Stretch daily. We are losing flexibility every day we age. I see this in my complete inability to simple sit cross-legged now, when I used to be able to do the splits. Pick all those big muscles to stretch out for at least 30 seconds each: hamstrings, hip flexors, quads, calves, back, and shoulders.

Get sweaty

  • What you have been doing: Occasionally breaking a sweat in your workouts.
  • Switch it up: Sweat a lot, every session. Working at a higher intensity will do more for your body in less time, all the while building your lung capacity and working  your heart. Your heart needs to be challenged just like any muscle in your body. Take is up a notch by adding hills, speed or distance.

Keep your balance

  • What you have been doing: Not putting balance exercises on the front burner
  • Switch it up: I see this everyday with clients when eyes are on the floor more than looking up. Challenge your balance and improve it trying tennis, skiing, tai chi, Pilates or yoga. You can even practice standing on one foot just waiting in line, putting on socks, or tying a shoe.

This staying fit after 40 thing is not for the fainthearted

Getting used to things under constant change with perimenopause is the biggest adjustment. Keeping an open mind and positive is part of the process. The real results? That takes a little work.

Feeling some of these symptoms yourself? Comment below with what’s working for you!

Heather Montgomery
Go get your fit on!

 

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Heather’s dream is to share with the world her success at becoming healthy after age 40. Heather lost over 88 pounds through changing her diet and incorporating exercise into her busy life. She would like to take what she has learned about becoming fit after 40, and using her Metabolic Training Certification to help others struggling with weight issues mid-life. Heather’s post day is Monday.
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