Menopause in Japan is called konenki. In a literal translation, ko means “renewal and regeneration,” nen means “year” or “years,” and ki means “season” or “energy.” This is a better way to think about menopause than the way we tend to view it in the United States, as a time of vasomotor symptoms, more commonly known as hot flashes, wild mood swings and aging.
It is true that as you approach menopause, your ovaries begin to secrete less estrogen. The decline in your natural supply of this hormone puts you at increased risk for heart disease and osteoporosis, the latter of which can lead to brittle bones. However, there are ways to deal with this, including exercise.
Getting plenty of aerobic exercise can help ward off heart problems by keeping your heart in shape and by lowering your blood pressure, improving your circulation, and helping you keep your weight in check.
Weight-bearing exercise such as lifting weights or jumping rope helps keep your bones strong, and may even promote new bone growth at a time when you’re starting to lose bone at a faster rate. Being active also gives you better balance and coordination and makes you feel better, too.
Can exercise help relieve the symptoms associated with menopause?
Some women report fewer or less severe hot flashes and night sweats when they’re working out regularly. Exercise helps relieve stress and depression by giving you a sense of competence and control, making you physically better able to handle anxiety, and possibly even boosting your levels of “feel-good” brain chemicals. It also helps you sleep better and gives you more energy to enjoy life.
The benefits of exercise during menopause
According to the Mayo Clinic, exercise during and after menopause offers many benefits, including:
Preventing weight gain.
Women tend to lose muscle mass and gain abdominal fat around menopause. Regular physical activity can help prevent weight gain.
Reducing the risk of cancer.
Exercise during and after menopause can help you lose excess weight or maintain a healthy weight, which might offer protection from various types of cancer, including breast, colon and endometrial cancer.
Strengthening your bones.
Exercise can slow bone loss after menopause, which lowers the risk of