Oct 14, 2019
Today we are covering a topic that is rarely spoken about. Talking about women’s menstrual cycles is often tough enough, especially for men. But once you near the age of a master's runner, interest fades even more rapidly.
Going through menopause is tough not only because of the physical elements, but the emotional ones. Like childbirth, it is hard to understand it until it’s happened to you, so there may be few people who you feel comfortable consulting.
But menopause is natural and normal. Dr. Stacy Sims, a leading expert in women’s exercise studies, spoke to us about menopause. She addressed the myths, the symptoms, how to communicate with those who have menopause, and more. Knowledge is confidence and comfort, so read along to learn more about this universal life experience.
Generally speaking, it is difficult to find scientific research specifically for women. While menopause has obviously been studied for a strictly female community, life leading up to menopause has not.
Dr. Sims suggests taking news articles and magazines posts with a grain of salt. Most exercise and diet studies have been done only for men, and occasionally with men and women combined. Don’t assume that what is good for men, is good for you.
For example, women typically need more protein post-exercise then men do. And taking a post-exercise ice bath yields more benefits for women than men. Always consult multiple sources when you come across new methods or diets, and consult your general practitioner if you feel unsure.
Menopause generally begins sometime during a women’s late forties. However, it can happen several years earlier or later. When you experience menopause, there are a lack of hormones that are being produced, and eventually you stop menstruating completely.
Common symptoms of menopause include hot flashes, night sweats, abdominal weight gain, and mental fogginess. In the first five years following menopause, women can lose up to 33% of their bone density. Knowing about these symptoms can help you prepare to deal with them as they come.
For most women, some of the common symptoms subside. Hot flashes, night sweats, and mental fogginess tend to lessen. However, a decrease in bone density, and abdominal weight gain will continue to happen without proper adaptation. Adding strength training exercises and reducing your carb intake will help you to stay healthy.
Aging women are commonly told to do low-intensity, high-volume exercises such as swimming, walking, or biking. While these are positives, they aren’t enough to help strengthen bones. Plyometrics, weightlifting, and other types of resistance training are necessary to increase bone density and keep muscle mass.
This doesn’t mean you need to start bench pressing with the body builders. Explosive actions such as jump squats and burpees are great. In fact, jumping for just ten minutes a day, three times a week has shown to be enough to build bone mass.
There is no need for you to feel alone while you go through menopause. Talking with a loved-one and a doctor or therapist can help the process happen more easily. It takes strength to talk about yourself, and you can do it.
If you have a friend, athlete, or parent going through menopause, be there for them. They may not want to talk about it, which could mean they are already talking to someone else about it. Continue to let them know you care about them and be willing to have a conversation. It can make all the difference.
As you age, there is no reason that you can’t keep a fast pace and avoid injuries. However, what you do in order to stay quick and healthy does need to change.
Your changing hormones mean that you need more fruits, vegetables, and protein and less carbs. You need to continue to do exercises that keep your range of motion, and you need to add exercises to keep up your bone density. But these are all things that you can do.
You can continue to do the things you love. Add the necessary exercises and strategies and keep running!
Kirsty Elliott Sale on Twitter
Roar: How to Match Your Food and Fitness to Your Unique Female Physiology for Optimum Performance, Great Health, and a Strong, Lean Body for Life
Thank you SO much!!
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Thank you to Stacy, I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the show.