To feel (and look) better, incorporate a variety of exercises into your weekly routine. Try jogging, biking, swimming, dancing, weight strengthening and yoga for results in just a few weeks. For further relief from menopause symptoms, integrate some smart mindfulness tips to help you face the day with delight! And don’t forget to breathe…
Just as you begin to feel the effects of pre- through post- menopause (including increased daily fatigue, often including the intense impulse for a nap during the day or to curl up with a Netflix binge and a glass of Chardonnay), exercising daily becomes the most important step you can take to stay healthy and functioning (and actively fighting menopause symptoms) during this major life change.The benefits of regular exercise include:
No pills, no chemicals…exercise and strength training is the key to feeling your best during menopause. Yes, it can be hard to get your rear off the couch, but once you see the benefits exercise has on your body, mind and mood, trust us: You’ll be hooked!
As you may know, peri-menopause (starting as early as thirty-one) and menopause cause physical, mental and emotional changes that can seem overwhelming.
Sound overwhelming? We agree! The good news is that we want you to get motivated to create a healthier lifestyle, one where you create more longevity and a healthy mind/body balance. Exercise of many types, including getting your groove on to some music, may have just as much of a positive effect on menopausal symptoms as hormone replacement therapy (HRT) or anti-depressants. Why is that?
Carla Hall sets her clock early and makes time to meet with a virtual or in-person trainer three to five days per week. Consistent training provides her with the strength to sustain twelve hour long filming days.
To stick to a workout regimen, you have to at least LIKE the exercise you choose. If you hate running, how often will you be able to drag yourself outside or to the gym when you’re busy, exhausted, or simply down in the dumps? Instead, pick activities you enjoy, like dancing. This can include a hip hop or ballet class; even a night out with your friends on the dance floor counts as exercise (and can lift your spirits, too)!
Making exercise a social activity is smart. Take twice or thrice weekly brisk walks with friends or family or schedule a standing tennis game. You’ll find getting five thousand steps into a half hour easy breezy and fun. Then, when you’re ready, you and your friend can step up to ten thousand steps. (No pressure!)
At the same time, we want to be honest and upfront about what you can expect. True studies, meaning controlled studies with statistically significant sample sizes are hard to come by. And as we already know, every woman’s peri-menopausal and menopausal journey is unique and individual. Here’s what we’ve learned:
In a twelve week study of 355 menopausal women (average age of fifty-four), women were randomly assigned to:
The women in the yoga group on average experienced modest improvement in menopausal vasomotor symptoms (hot flashes, sweats) as well as modest improvement in sleep quality and mood. The aerobic exercise group showed improvement in general physical capacity but without specific positive impact on key menopause markers. The third group showed no change at all. The scientists themselves agree that it’s important to keep in mind that this was only a twelve week study so benefits may not have occurred or become noticeable yet.
Resistance training programs are proven to decrease the frequency of moderate and severe hot flashes amongst post-menopausal woman and are widely considered a very safe and effective treatment. But wait, what exactly is resistance training? Fundamentally, resistance training increases muscle strength by making your muscles work against a weight or a force. So, it can be free weights, weight machines, resistance bands or your own body weight (think planks!!!)
Recently, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists in London formally recommended–based on their scientific advisory group’s studies and learnings–that running and swimming or low intensity exercise such as yoga, as well as reducing caffeine and alcohol together helps reduce hot flashes and night sweats.
In sum, a combination of aerobic, resistance and balance training is your best bet to creating your optimum bone, heart and brain health. AND it is very possible that by doing so, you will also naturally improve your own personal experiences and issues with physical and mood related menopausal manifestations!
Note: When choosing your weekly regimen, keep in mind that the Department of Health and Human Services recommends moderate aerobic activity for at least 150 minutes a week or vigorous aerobic activity for at least seventy-five minutes a week. Strength training exercises are recommended at least twice a week for maximum health.
Carla Hall is a fan of strength training. It keeps her both looking lean and feeling strong so she can face whatever comes her way during long work days.
Stretch your muscles before and after every workout to keep them flexible.
Would you ever have thought that exercising can not only cause weight loss and improve your mood, but that it can visibly make your skin look younger? This is no fantasy! Studies show that Yin Yoga, a practice that encourages poses to be held for three to five minutes and targets the connective tissues such as ligaments, tendons, fascia, and bones actually creates Hyaluronic Acid (HA) within the body.
What is HA? A compound that our bodies manufacture that boasts many benefits—one of our favorites is that it is a key molecule in skin moisture. Creating more HA will slow down the aging process, according to Dr. Roya Hassad an internist and anti-aging expert in New York City, who adds, “HA functions to retain water and keep our skin looking firm and youthful…it also increases collagen formation, which is another way to help skin looking young.”
But that’s not all! Well-hydrated skin is more elastic and supple. HA can hold 1,000 times its own weight in water, which keeps skin from becoming dehydrated (which amplifies wrinkles and causes the visage to look ashy, dry, and dull). No thanks!
Speaking of HA, it’s one of Caire’s hero ingredients because of its proven effectiveness. For example, Theorem Serum Boost pushes custom-made super super tiny HA molecules into the epidermis, which triggers your body to make more HA on its own, improving skin density by 200%. Just remember when looking at Hyaluronic Acid skincare that there is a vast variety – you want to choose products that have ultra low weight molecules that can pass the dermal barrier, get deep into skin, and go to work.
And the Triple Lift Molecule Mask is a HA carrier into your skin as well, as the ingredient Triple Hyaluronic Acid Complex glides across the skin barrier and triggers intense hydration. The benefits of this process can’t be overlooked. As we age and lose estrogen, our skin loses HA and collagen, and wrinkles, saggy skin, crepiness and loss of tone follow. The beauty of Caire is that it’s like “exercise for your skin,” in that it triggers those cells to continue producing those beneficial cells that help your epidermis stay smoother and more supple. Makeup glides on easily with no streaks or blotches. You’ll find yourself addicted! We use it before every important event (and when we need a mood boost!).
Looking younger isn’t the only reason to head to the yoga studio or find a great yoga class online. During this time of change, stick to practices that incorporate restorative poses,, such as the Warrior II Pose, Reclining Bound Angle Pose, Downward-Facing Dog, Reclining Hero Pose and Bridge Pose. In fact, a study from yogauonline.com, in an article entitled “Yoga For Menopausal Women: New Studies Suggest Selective Benefits”, found that peri-menopausal and menopausal women who combined a ninety-minute weekly yoga class with a daily twenty-minute practice experienced fewer hot flashes, improved sex lives, and a better quality of life!
And don’t forget meditation and mindfulness, which are often incorporated into yoga classes, often at the end of each session. Add them into your daily walking or going-to-sleep practice. Sign us up!
About an hour or two before going to sleep, boil some water for tea, cleanse your face with tepid water, put on the Caire mask two to three times per week, drink a relaxation tea (we prefer one with Gaba and Chamomile), let the mask dry and tighten while doing a mindfulness exercise, then sip your tea to bring your body to the ultimate in relaxation and self-care.
No matter how much you move, you’re still human, and some feelings and events are bound to evoke negative reactions. Steer clear! Some of these include:
Slow, deep breathing is called “paced respiration” by the medical community. According to menopause.org, it can be used in lieu of estrogen and other chemicals to help control hot flashes in healthy women. Research is ongoing, but one promising technique involves inhaling deeply and then exhaling, trying to make your exhalation as long as your inhalation. Repeat six to eight breaths per minute, fifteen minutes a day at the onset of hot flashes. This can help lessen the severity and frequency of this bothersome problem for many women.
Stay Motivated! Here’s how:
Set achievable goals. Start small (like jogging fifty feet!), so failure is not a possibility. Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself as you become more fit. A workout partner is also a good idea. It’s harder to flake out on a workout if you have to cancel on a friend!
And what about the old faithful practice of counting calories? Forget it, says Sean James, NYC fitness trainer and former NFL player.
“The moment you stop tracking calories will be the moment your entire physique will change,” he says. “It’s just as much about your daily routine as it is your workout. Invest in a Fitbit or Apple Watch and start your day with a long walk. Set a goal to get 5,000 to 10,000 steps a day and your life will change.”
Sounds easy enough. Factor in the fact that exercise is proven to improve your mood, and we’re almost convinced! You see, exercise produces endorphins—a chemical in the body that reduces stress, pain, anxiety and depression. The more you exercise, the better you feel, the more you want to exercise. It’s a win-win situation. So get moving!
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