Menopause is a natural and inevitable process in women’s lives. However, it is a delicate and dreaded moment among many of us, as the body undergoes several hormonal changes that cause discomfort. To understand and go through this phase in a smooth way, the gynecologist and sports doctor Natalia Tavares Gomes clarified some doubts (and how the sport is very important to alleviate the symptoms!).
What is menopause?
Many women are unaware, but menopause is defined as the last menstrual period, which occurs around age 50. To make sure that you are going through this phase, you need to be 12 months without a period. This is the clear sign that comes with other influences on the body: hormone production drops significantly, and every woman reacts in a way to that fall.
The sensation of abnormal heat regardless of the weather, known as hot flush, is the one that most affects women. This heat can last between three and five years, but some women may suffer longer
– 10 years. Mood changes such as irritability and depression enter the team. Dizziness, headaches, reduced libido (accompanied by dryness of the mucosa lining the vagina) and insomnia may also be part of the menopause package. The symptoms listed depend on a variety of factors: genetics, autoimmune and infectious diseases can contribute to discomfort.
Long term result
Reduction in lean mass is noticeable and women become more susceptible to cardiovascular disease caused by decreased estrogen, a hormone that protects the heart and blood vessels; osteoporosis, also due to decreased estrogen levels; and the tendency to bone weakening.
Role of physical activity
Given that many women are unable or unwilling to undergo hormone therapy as a way out to control menopausal symptoms, exercise is excellent for relieving the pressure of discomfort.
Natalia Tavares explains that every exercise is valid to maintain the health and density of bone mass. Frequent physical exercise minimizes arterial aging, lowers the risk of hypertension, improves cholesterol, and decreases adipose tissue (fat). The doctor also endorses that moving the body reduces the risk of mental disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease by up to 50%.
If you are entering menopause or are already in this phase, Natalia suggests aerobic exercise for 30 minutes at moderate intensity at least five times a week. It can be walking, running, swimming, tennis, cycling, dancing and any other sport that works broad muscle groups.
It is believed that the ideal is the association of resistance exercises (bodybuilding) with impact exercises to obtain the benefit. Therefore, bet twice a week on bodybuilding and other types of training that stimulate muscle strength. Between weight training and aerobic, don’t forget about flexibility and balance exercises. Pilates is a great example of practice that generates considerable improvement in balance and flexibility, just like yoga.