The Menopause Exercise Buffet: Embracing The Buffet ApproachJul 21, 2023
Fellow menopausers, brace yourselves for the ultimate feast – not of food, but of a wonderful diversity of movement! Yes, we're talking about the Menopause Exercise Buffet, where you get to sample a variety of exercises and find the perfect fitness flavors that suit you. With so many options available and so many “experts” telling you that one is better than the other, which one should you do? I say, try them all, and see which one is most fun. In my experience of my own fitness journey and as a fitness pro for 20 years, I’ve realized that the most sustainable way to exercise and move is to treat fitness like a buffet. There are many options, each with its own benefits and drawbacks, each can add something new and valuable to your routine, but you don’t have to do them all, especially not all the time. For me, getting bored is a real problem. I don’t like to do things for too long, so I constantly switch up my movement practice by adding different things and taking them back off my plate if I don’t like them or if they are not something I want to do every day. It’s the same with food. I can’t eat the same thing every day and know very few people that can. So, I invite you to get ready to indulge in the delightful benefits of looking at different types of exercise in menopause as a buffet rather than a pre-fixed meal. After all, every exercise has its own merits, and the key is to have fun trying them all without feeling pressured to do them all!
Resistance Training is #1
The menopause buffet is all about trying things and choosing what you like the most, and even choosing not to do something. Resistance training is the exception to the “maybe I won’t do that” rule because it is critical to overall health and quality of life. I’ve written many articles on why it is so important. If you want to dig a little deeper, you can read them here and here. The bottom line is that it is a must!! How you include resistance training is up to you but including it, you must try. If you picture resistance training as only being surrounded by people throwing weights around a gym, think again because it so much more. If you’re struggling to find what works for you, set up a free exploration call with me and we can figure out how to make it work for you.
Yoga is one of those types of exercises that I want to include more of but always end up putting last, although it feels so good when I do it. Do you have a type of exercise like that too? Yoga is worth a try because it has been shown to have positive results for alleviating menopause-related stress, anxiety, and even hot flashes (not hot yoga).
Dance Your Heart Out Dance Cardio
If you're tired of the same old treadmill routine, spice things up with Zumba! Imagine a dance party where nobody cares if your moves are perfect. With Zumba, you can shake, shimmy, and sashay your way to a healthier heart and a happier you. Zumba is one of many options. Plenty of dance cardio versions allow you to channel your inner Beyoncé or shake it like Shakira as you move and sway to energetic beats. Dance cardio is a fabulous mood-booster, releasing those feel-good endorphins to combat menopause's emotional rollercoaster. So, dance like nobody's watching (and who cares if they are?) – it's your buffet, after all! Just make sure you have enough space to groove and don't be afraid to laugh at yourself – we all have two left feet sometimes!
I’ve only tried Pilates a few times, and I was surprised by how difficult it was. I found it refreshing to challenge my body in different ways, and although I don’t practice it very often, it is still on my menu. Pilates offers numerous benefits for menopause symptoms. Regular practice can help improve bone density, reduce joint pain, and enhance flexibility. It can also reduce stress, promoting better sleep and mental well-being. Definitely give this a try!
Jogging or Walking
I’m going to start off by saying that I have always disliked jogging, so it was crossed off my buffet menu a long time ago, but although jogging might not be everyone's cup of tea, for many, it's the perfect way to break a sweat and clear the mind. It has the same effect as resistance training for me. Walking, however, ranks very high on my list. I try to walk with my puppies every day, and its benefits on mental health are very well-established. It can be very beneficial for stress, depression, and anxiety relief. It can also be a wonderful way to catch up with a friend if you get yourself a walking buddy. Make this one a must!
I LOVED step aerobics in the late 80s and 90s, so this type of exercise is still dear to my heart! Dust off those leg warmers, put on your brightest leotard and get ready to step or grapevine like it's 1985. Besides being a fun workout, aerobics improves cardiovascular health and lifts your spirit 😀.
Dive into Swimming
For those who prefer a low-impact workout that's easy on the joints, swimming is the answer. Swimming is a fantastic way to stay active, and the cool water provides sweet relief from those pesky hot flashes and the insane heat wave plaguing us right now.
Hop on a bike, feel the wind (or fan if you’re indoors) in your hair, and pedal your way to joy! Cycling is an excellent low-impact exercise that keeps your joints happy while working your legs and cardiovascular system. If you’re choosing to stay indoors, you can join a fun group cycling class that keeps you motivated.
Hiking and Outdoor Activities: Nature's Pantry of Fitness
Nature's bounty awaits you on the hiking trail! I’ve shared in another article just how powerful outdoor exercise can be for body image and self-esteem, so this one is one of my favorites. Lace up your hiking boots, and venture into the great outdoors for an adventure-filled exercise experience. Hiking not only improves cardiovascular health but also lets you disconnect from day-to-day life and technology, leaving you feeling refreshed and alive.
Mix, Match, and Delight in the Buffet of Menopause Fitness
There are too many types of movement to list here, so I only included a few. For example, I’m also a big fan of racquetball and roller skating with my daughter. As you embark on this tasty buffet of menopause fitness, remember to mix and match to suit your taste buds. The beauty lies in the variety – you don't have to do them all! Embrace the benefits of each exercise type and savor the fun along the way. So, the next time you feel like menopause is serving you a plate of hot flashes and mood swings, head straight to the exercise buffet. Whether you choose yoga for stress relief, dance for joy, strength training for power, hiking to disconnect, or swimming for weightlessness, the options are limitless. The most important thing is that you enjoy your menopause fitness feast – savor every bite, relish the flavors, and don't forget to share a laugh with your fellow buffet explorers. Cheers to a healthier, happier, and stronger menopausal journey! Bon appétit!
I’d love to hear what’s on your fitness buffet menu. Email me at [email protected]