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Perimenopause - Exercise Brings Benefits

Updated: Apr 12

Womens exercise group for menopause treatment

This is a review of an interesting piece of research on exercise that investigates a woman's progression through pre menopause, perimenopause to menopause itself. It looks at where exercise would be of the most benefit. Benefit both in body composition and in menopausal symptoms.


Many women notice there is a change in our body shape, particularly during 45 to 50 years of age.


 Why is my waist not like it was and seems to be increasing without any lifestyle changes?


Although it is recognized with age most of us gain weight, distributed throughout our body. You can recognize this change when you see a mother and daughter together. The daughter is generally slimmer than her mother.


Body Changes During Menopause


Unfortunately, with menopause many changes occur. Those of us who have been through the process would certainly attest to this experiencing a continual change in symptoms and shape over a period of time. With the hormonal changes of menopause comes a change in our body composition with naturally more fat, especially around our abdomen.


As I said above it's something I couldn't do anything about! I remember being in my 40s and asking the doctor what was happening? And although a female doctor I was left with little explanation. It's just aging.


Changing Menopausal Symptoms


Menopause, is beginning to get the attention it needs as women are given a voice. Imagine a man leaving a business meeting with a jacket tied around his waist to hide an “unexpected flow”.


Get Yourself a Personal Trainer – Kick Out Menopause Symptoms

What we can expect is a time of menopausal changes that actually can benefit from a range of different exercises. I was asked to write this blog for Charlie, a personal trainer and the owner of 50 plus fitness that operates both in Christchurch and online. He wants to help women find solutions to be fit and also reduce menopausal symptoms that make family and professional life difficult for many of his clients. One advantage of working with an older trainer he has watched helplessly my experiences of menopause, sometimes challenging and sometimes just crazy!


Research on Most Effective Type of Exercise for Menopause

We searched for information, from research not just marketing spiel online. We wanted good research and facts that could help design the best exercise for all stages of menopause.


What we found was research done in 2022 by Lacey Gould and others published in the Journal of The American Menopause Society. Their conclusions were very interesting. It could be an opportunity during perimenopause where aerobic exercise only, alleviates symptoms such as hot flashes, poor sleep, brain fog, mood swings and more……….


But this period in life - before menopause - there is a window to reduce the buildup of visceral and abdominal fat that most of us would gladly have lived without.

Diagram about the benefits of exercise during perimenopause and menopause
Figure 1

Weight Loss Challenges in Perimenopause and Menopause

Weight loss is problematic start in menopause. It seems that if us women, have a relaxing holiday, spoil ourselves for a week or two we have to spend the rest of the year paying for our indulgence to reduce the amount of menopause fat.


Gould found that perimenopause, shown in figure 1 may be the most opportune window for a lifestyle intervention, as for this group it is a time of transitional changes that stabilise in postmenopause. The researchers have recorded a video about their findings.


But if this article is too late for your perimenopause don’t worry exercise designed especially for women can make a difference.


Menopausal women should engage in activity to retain lean mass (resistance exercise) and metabolism (moderate-high intensity)

Therefore if you're wondering how to make life easier, and have the opportunity to begin to moderate menopausal symptoms I hope you'll review the information in this article, spend time talking with your friends or family; read the research or listen to the video as I found this easier to understand.

The journey from pre, peri, and through to postmenopause is a journey of roughly 50% of the population. Lifestyle gives us opportunities to make this transition easier and I can attest the end can be liberating, but at times me saying that doesn't help.


Gould LM, Gordon AN, Cabre HE, Hoyle AT, Ryan ED, Hackney AC, Smith-Ryan AE. Metabolic effects of menopause: a cross-sectional characterization of body composition and exercise metabolism. Menopause. 2022 Feb 28;29(4):377-389.

Charlie Wong – Exercise Coach / Personal Trainer – Christchurch

Need simple effective ways to improve your Fitness and Well Being without the stress of joining a commercial Gym. This is where I can help! Ideas can be found in the articles on my website.


Why I became a Personal Trainer

I feel there was a missed opportunity within the fitness industry. Although the industry often advertise that they cater for all ages I have found that most trainers don’t understand the over 50’s age group very well.

As a mature aged trainer (check me out) I bring life experience also I know and understand the difficulties and limitations people have. I know there are movements I could do when I was young that I struggle to do now, if you practice them, it will come back eventually, that’s where I come in.


Need more information about how I can help contact me


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