Exercise goes hand in hand with almost everything, and hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is no different. HRT can be prescribed by a Doctor to help alleviate menopausal type symptoms.
What is Menopause?
Menopause is a naturally occurring stage in a women’s life where the individual is no longer able to reproduce. Menstrual cycles cease, meaning no further ovulation occurs and the ovaries stop the production of oestrogen. The cessation of oestrogen can often cause many negative menopausal side-effects.
Many women will experience symptoms during menopause, including hot flushes, vaginal dryness and sleep disturbance. These symptoms can be managed in a variety of ways including a healthy diet, exercise and HRT.
What is HRT?
HRT is a form of medication containing the hormones that a woman’s body stops producing after menopause. There are many different types or combinations of HRT, and it should be prescribed on an individual basis by a treating Doctor. Depending on the individual, the pro’s and con’s of this medication should be discussed with your Doctor, as each woman can respond differently.
While HRT may be prescribed to minimise the uncomfortable side effects of menopause, this medication can also help to reduce the risk of certain chronic health conditions such as Diabetes, Osteoporosis and potentially Heart Disease. While it can reduce the risk factor for developing these conditions, it may actually increase the risk for developing other conditions such as Breast Cancer due to its interaction with Oestrogen, so it is important you talk to your GP before considering this medication.
Exercise and HRT.
When we consider Menopause and HRT, exercise may not be the first thing that pops into your mind. However, research shows that HRT and exercise go hand in hand for many different reasons.
Firstly, exercise works with HRT to fight off common chronic health diseases such as Osteoporosis, Heart Disease and Diabetes. By completing regular exercise, you are continuing to lower your risk of these age-related health conditions by strengthening your bones, cardiac system and improving insulin sensitivity.
Exercise can also help to improve energy levels through the day, allowing us to think more clearly, improve mood and tackle our day to day tasks. By doing more through the day, it may allow us to have a better night’s sleep, reducing sleep disturbance and tiredness. By combining HRT, exercise and nutrition, we are more able to maintain a healthy body weight and minimise the common “belly fat” associated with Menopause.
How much exercise should you be doing?
Ideally, we like to recommend that individuals move most, if not each day, completing a minimum of 30 minutes per day. It is important to combine aerobic exercise with resistance based exercise. That means, you need to be testing your heart, lungs, bones and muscles! By targeting both our cardiorespiratory and musculoskeletal systems, you are on track for a long-term healthy life. Remember, the recommended 30 minutes doesn’t need to be done in one big chunk, perhaps 3 x 10 minute blocks is more realistic! You will still see some great health benefits from completing shorter periods of exercise throughout the day.
Ready to get started?
If this information has inspired you to get moving, it’s time to make a plan! It’s important you create very simple and achievable movement goals. Perhaps you start with a 20 minute walk with a friend. Once this becomes easy, consider how you can add weights training to your routine. Perhaps you contact your community gym, or talk to your GP about starting with an Exercise Physiologist. We recommend starting with an Exercise Physiologist, to ensure you receive the most appropriate program in line with your current health status. What exactly is an Exercise Physiologist? Learn more here.
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