For some people, it can be difficult maintaining a fitness regime as menopause approaches and in the years beyond. This period often coincides with the time when we have the most demands on our time, with our careers and families, maybe caring for parents as well as children.
However, busy as we are, it is really important to find some time for regular fitness training during this time of our lives, in order to keep ourselves in shape and reduce the risk of injury as we age.
Maintaining fitness, strength and balance does not have to be hard. There are many exercises that you can do at home with a minimum of equipment, and you can break your sessions up into short time periods, to suit your lifestyle. Depending on where you are with your current level of fitness, consider adding these suggestions into your exercise regime.
- Extra walking
- Balance work
- Single leg exercises
Walking is a great form of exercise for all ages. It is a low-impact activity that is easy on the joints, and it can be done at any fitness level. Walking can help to improve cardiovascular health, strengthen muscles and bones, and reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes. It can also help to improve mental health and well-being.
Walking is something that nearly everyone can do. It requires no particular equipment, apart from sensible shoes, and it can fit in with most people’s lifestyles and be done at any time of day.
Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity walking most days of the week. You can start slowly and gradually increase the duration and intensity of your walks over time.
Balance work is good for women because it can help to prevent falls in later life. As we age, our balance naturally declines. This is due to a number of factors, including changes in our vision, hearing, and proprioception (the sense of where our body is in space). Falls are a major risk factor for injuries, disability, and death in older adults.
If you are a middle-aged woman, it is a good idea to include some balance work in your regular exercise routine. Balance work can help to keep you safe and independent as you age.
Some of the most common types of balance work include:
- Standing on one leg: This is a simple but effective exercise that can help to improve your balance. To do this exercise, stand on one leg for as long as you can. You can start with just a few seconds and gradually increase the time as you get stronger.
- Walking heel-to-toe: This exercise is also simple but effective. To do this exercise, walk slowly and deliberately, placing your heel on the ground before your toes.
- Tai chi: Tai chi is a gentle form of exercise that combines slow, graceful movements with deep breathing. Tai chi can help to improve your balance, flexibility, and coordination.
- Wobble board: A wobble board is a small, round platform that is unstable. Standing on a wobble board can help to challenge your balance and coordination.
- Balance ball: A balance ball is a large, inflatable ball that you can sit on or stand on. Sitting or standing on a balance ball can help to improve your balance and coordination.
If you are new to balance work, start slowly and gradually increase the difficulty of the exercises as you get stronger. You can also do balance exercises with the help of a qualified personal trainer.
Single leg exercises
If you already have a fitness regime and a basic level of fitness, then consider extending some of your leg work with single leg exercises. Single-leg exercises are a great way to improve your balance, coordination, and strength. They also help to prevent injuries.
When you do a single-leg exercise, you are forced to use your core muscles to stabilise your body. This helps to improve your balance and coordination. Single-leg exercises also help to strengthen the muscles in your legs, which can help to prevent injuries.
Some of the benefits of doing single-leg exercises include:
- Improved balance
- Improved coordination
- Stronger legs
- Reduced risk of injuries
- Improved athletic performance
- Increased calorie burn
- Improved mood
- Reduced stress levels
If you are new to single-leg exercises, start slowly and gradually increase the difficulty as you get stronger. Here are a few single-leg exercises that you can try:
- Single-leg squats
- Single-leg lunges
- Single-leg deadlifts
- Single-leg calf raises
- Single-leg hip raises
You can do single-leg exercises as part of your regular workout routine or as a standalone workout. If you want to find out more about them take a look at this article – Single Leg Exercises
Rachel Law is a personal fitness trainer based in New Malden, Surrey. Qualifications: ActivIQ Level 3 Personal Training; Burrell Education Pregnancy Exercise Prescription; Burrell Education Advanced Pregnancy Wellness Practitioner; Burrell Education Advanced Post Natal Exercise Prescription; Burrell Education 3rd Age Women Optimal Health and Nutrition; Burrell Education Peri Natal Athlete; Burrell Education Pelvic Flow and Freedom; Olympic Weight Lifting; Premier Global Kettlebells; FIE Level Assessment and Mentoring