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  1. #1
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    Default Managing Menopause: Get moving!

    An Active Approach to Managing Menopause

    Get Moving to Relieve Discomfort
    -- By Rebecca Pratt, Staff Writer
    You’ve heard the jokes and the horror stories. But often, faced with the onset of menopause, most of us don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Luckily, if you’re determined to stay fit—or get fit— there’s no time like perimenopause to begin a sensible physical regimen.

    Physical activity, the most effective alternative therapy available for women who experience menopausal symptoms, allows women to manage both their bodies and emotions. When you exercise, your adrenal glands are stimulated to convert the male hormone androstenedione into estrogen. Just four 30-minute exercise sessions per week are enough to keep you "topped off" with estrogen.

    Regular exercise can benefit you in a number of ways as you pass through menopause: strengthening your heart and bones, avoiding or minimizing weight gain, improving your mood and sense of overall well-being. It also reduces the duration and intensity of those infamous hot flashes. In a recent Swedish study, researchers found that postmenopausal women who exercised were able to handle menopause without Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT); in fact, some of them did not experience hot flashes at all. Other studies have found similar beneficial results, including mood elevation in pre-, peri-, and postmenopausal women. Indeed, studies have shown that regular physical activity benefits not only women going through natural menopause but also those on HRT.

    On the other hand, being sedentary as you approach menopause opens you up to a host of potential problems. Sedentary women are far more prone to heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity; they’re also more likely to suffer stiffness and chronic back pain, irregularity, poor circulation, shortness of breath, weak muscles, depression, and sleep disturbances. Walking, jogging, dancing, swimming, biking and other aerobic activities help circumvent these problems. What’s more, studies have shown that women engaging in aerobic activity or strength training have reduced mortality from cancer.

    Being active will also help you keep osteoporosis at bay—thus lowering the risk of bone fractures in your later years—since bones diminish in size and strength if you’re inactive. Because exercise stimulates the cells that help generate new bone tissue, bone mass lost through disuse can be re-built with weight-bearing activity. In fact, even postmenopausal women can help preserve bone mass in their spine with regular exercise.

    Physical activity also raises the level of endorphins in the blood, enhancing your mood and allowing you to respond positively in the face of stress. Partly the result of estrogen in a woman’s body, these "feel-good" biochemicals also help regulate body temperature—which in turn can diminish the frequency and intensity of hot flashes. In one study of postmenopausal women who were physically active, severe hot flashes and night sweats were only half as common.

    Last, but certainly not least, regular exercise may allow you to maintain better mental agility by increasing the amount of oxygen delivered to the brain. A study comparing older women who were sedentary with older women who exercised regularly for four months, found that the active group processed information faster when tested. In addition, exercise may slow down the loss of dopamine, a neurotransmitter which helps prevent shaking and stiffness that come with old age.

    What type of exercise routine should you plan if you’re gearing up for (or going through) menopause? Generally there are three components to a healthy routine: appropriate stretching exercises to improve and maintain flexibility, resistance training to delay loss of bone and muscle tissue, and aerobic activity that will strengthen your overall health and help you maintain a sensible weight.

    The bottom line is that whether you crave solitude and independence on an early morning walk or an exercise class that’s always a social occasion, you’ll be much better prepared to soar through menopause if you’re taking care of the body you’re in. You may still have those flashes— but they may be warm rather than hot, and a lot easier to endure!
    "The soul takes flight to the world that is invisible, but there arriving she is sure of bliss and forever dwells in paradise." - Plato


  2. #2
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    Himmy is offline Active Nappturality Member
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    Ugh! I don't want to even think about menopause. I know it's inevitable, but I don't even want to think about it. So far...I haven't hit perimenopause yet. Yet.... But I know it's coming probably in the next couple of years.

    I'm glad I already exercise and eat right, so when it does come, I hope it comes gently....*sigh*
    Thank you, Jah!!!! Thank you!!!!

    I updated my picture album here on NP ya'll. Year 4! What a blessing to be a loc sistah!

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    I've already started perimenopause and so far it hasn't been "that" bad. I was a bit moody, fatigued, missed two months of my period and have gained a bit of weight. So I decided to get back on track and started back walking. Eating habits aren't really that bad but I've improved on them a lot. I'm holding off on purchasing anything to take for it as it's not too bad at this time. When I feel the need to I'll find a natural alternative.
    "Don't ever think I fell for you, or over you. I didn't fall in love, I rose in it. I saw you and made up my mind". Toni Morrison

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    *sigh*

    Not looking forward to this. AT. ALL.

    Like Himmy I eat right and stay active, but I could do a whole lot better. My periods are starting to be irregular, which is a PAIN because I was always like clockwork. I'm not liking how my periods seem to come and go as they please now-a-days.

    My blood pressure is already creeping up, but I knew it would get me eventually because it's hereditary. I've made an appt. with a new PCP for next week to get a complete physical and I will ask her to help me get on a plan to manage my blood pressure without drugs.
    ~Love the hair you have~

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    I was definitely the the throes of perimenopause dealing with the hot flashes and accepting the mood swings, etc. for the last few months then all of a sudden I must have had an estrogen surge. I guess this ride has more twists and turns than I anticipated. I stopped eating meat again and I must do better on the regular exercise front but hey, when it comes, it comes.
    5th year of freedom...

  6. #6
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    Being solid in menopause territory now, I look back and can say that moving and eating not just better but making those better choices were key for me. I agree with this article. Also as Black women, I really feel we need to stop the madness and start taking care of our selves...putting ourselves on the list is not good enough!
    I remember when I went to the OB/GYN and she explained what the symptoms were and meant, one of the first things she said was ..'Forget HRT, I'm not prescribing it for you, forget diets however get a better diet going and get moving'. I forgot that for a minute and let's just say I felt it!! However I am continuously working on the better diet and I am definitely moving it!! Oh! drink your water!! it does a body good!!
    My heart is spoken for.


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    For those who are in the menopause stage of your lives- how tolerable should one be towards the up and downs even if it is down right hurtful and manipulative...I guess what I'm saying is- should I deal with the lash out when it's used as manipulation, and hurtful comments because it's menopause?? I need to know what I can excuse as an hormonal imbalance and what is just plain mean and hurtful? thanks

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    Keeping active [mentally and physically] go a long way as one navigates menopause.

    For me, regular exercise was the one thing that helped me after my hysterectomy [and subsequent health issues].

    Regular exercise=better mental health=better attitude and ability dealing with life's stresses.


    My husband has noted that I seem more 'mellow' since the change...









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    Hi Azalee! I would say once it moves into mean, hurtful, manipulative,heck any and all negative behavior.....choose how you want to deal with it and how much you want to tolerate. My first thought is to say 'don't'. Side note...when I would have a rough moment, I would say 'I can't be civil so I am going to my room, my daughter would say 'I was just going to suggest that'!
    My heart is spoken for.


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    Thanks. Msretta- It's challenging because it's my mother and when I tell my aunt about her craziness she says "don't be so quick to leave her alone; she is going through menopause." So when I saw this thread I thought- How much of my mom's behavior is menopause or manipulation/pure crazy...

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