Have you ever caught yourself asking “Whatever happened to my waist?”As we get older, our shape does start to change. Exercise and menopause are important partners, and you might need to tweak your routine to get the best results.
Changes can be so gradual you don’t notice them at first. You bemoan how clothes sizes aren’t what they used to be. You start wearing looser-fitting jeans and then it hits home… your waist seems to have disappeared! Those few extra pounds all seem to be sitting around your middle.
Our distribution of weight changes as hormone levels fluctuate through menopause and lower levels of oestrogen lead to us becoming more apple than pear-shaped, which isn’t good for our health or our body confidence.
So what can you do to reclaim your waist?
Exercise plays a huge part in keeping abdominal fat at bay – not just by burning calories but also by reducing the ‘inflammation’ this type of fat causes within our bodies. It is this inflammation – which we can’t see or feel – that leads to a higher risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some cancers. The ideal waist measurement for good health is under 32 inches. 32-35” is overweight and over 35” is classed as obese.
But it’s not all doom and gloom. We can make a big difference to our health and our waists by exercising regularly, sitting less, sleeping well and having a well-balanced, low-sugar diet with plenty of protein.
What sort of exercise works?
When it comes to exercise and menopause, you may find your usual exercise routine isn’t quite right, and you need to make some changes to find your best menopause exercise plan. Much as we would love to think we can trim our waists by doing sit-ups galore, it simply isn’t the case. In fact, spot-reducing isn’t realistic and sit-ups aren’t the best exercise for toning tums.
But we can change the appearance of our midriff to look more toned and less wobbly by reducing fat and increasing lean tissue. This means doing resistance exercises so we get stronger and leaner. Muscle cells are the powerhouse of the body and they use far more energy than fat cells, so by improving muscle density you burn more calories – even when you’re asleep.
Resistance exercises simply mean that you’re using weights, bands or your own body-weight to lift, push or pull against a load – you don’t have to go to the gym, unless that works for you.
Progression is key as your body quickly adapts, so unless you keep adding a few more repetitions or increasing the load you won’t get the desired results.
Got a minute?
Then do the plank. It’s a quick and effective exercise which engages the major core muscle groups. Build up from a few seconds to holding for a minute, every day. When it gets easy, simply lift up one arm or foot.
- Lie on your front, forearms on the floor and toes tucked under.
- Push your body weight up so that you’re resting on your forearms and feet, in a straight line parallel to the floor.
- Check you’re not dropping your hips or pushing your bottom up and that you are making a straight line from heels to head.
- Remember to breathe normally throughout.
At Menohealth, we offer a range of fun fitness classes with a careful selection of menopause exercises designed to boost core and bone strength and improve muscle tone. Plus there’s always a 15-minute discussion at the start, with all things menopause on the conversation menu.