Menopause: Essity reveals some of the 62 common symptoms
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Trying to shift menopause weight can be hard due to the many hormonal changes going on in a woman’s body. While diet can certainly help to lose some extra poundage, keeping exercise regular is also important.
Movement of any kind can help reduce the severity and frequency of several symptoms that are associated with menopause.
When people exercise, it releases happy endorphins, can promote better sleep and regulate other hormone levels.
But women in their midlife shouldn’t expect results that they would have seen back in their 20s.
Instead, they should focus on some specific exercises that can help target unwanted belly fat and boost their metabolism to help lose weight.
One of them is high-intensity interval training (HIIT), which has been found to be “particularly good” for women going through the menopausal transition.
HIIT can improve insulin sensitivity and lowers fasting blood sugar levels, which can be hard to manage during menopause.
It is also good for a person’s cardiovascular and metabolic health, burning more calories in a short space of time.
Feisty Menopause, a guide for active women going through the change, said “the sweet spot” for menopausal intervals is “around 30 seconds or less”.
A 2020 study of women who were either pre- or post-menopause, found HIIT programmes “significantly decreased” their body weight and total and abdominal fat mass.
Another study published in 2018, found menopausal women who participated in HIIT were found to be “more likely” to stick with their programme and also lost twice as much weight as the women assigned to an endurance programme.
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The HIIT group also decreased their fat mass and body mass index by a higher percentage.
In a 2019 meta-analysis, researchers compared HIIT and moderate-intensity training and found that both types of training led to significant reductions in both total body fat percentage and total absolute fat mass.
However, HIIT had more “significant reductions” of fat mass, seeing a twenty-eight percent greater decrease in total absolute fat mass than that seen with moderate-intensity training.
The researchers concluded that the quick bursts of exercise associated with HIIT could be a better choice for obese and older people.
But Dr Khandee Ahnaimugan has advised that while exercise is “essential” for women going through the change, it “isn’t enough” to see the weight off.
She specialises in weight management and revealed exercise won’t have the same effect on slimming as one might expect.
“The generic advice for anyone who’s gaining weight is to ‘go to the gym’,” she said.
“While exercise is highly recommended for your overall physical and mental health, for women going through menopause it has minimal effect on weight loss.”
She carried on: “You went to the gym diligently for a few weeks, and then were shocked and dismayed to see that your weight hadn’t budged. This is not abnormal. It’s actually expected.”
Dr Ahnaimugan said many of her clients have previously “blamed themselves” for not doing enough exercise, but she assured them this wasn’t the case.
“This is not the reason they have not been able to lose weight,” she said.
“Again, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t exercise, it just means that it’s not enough for weight loss.”
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