Most women in the perimenopause & menopause stages realize that it’s no longer possible for them to ignore their body’s signals (physical and emotional) to stay vitally healthy. It’s a great time to be proactive about lifestyle decisions and habits, helping you harmonize your life.
What you experience during this life cycle depends on many factors such as heredity, medical history, cultural background, stress levels throughout life, diet, exercise habits, etc. It has the potential of being one of the most beautiful & fulfilling times of your life.
Perimenopause takes place in different phases with significant hormonal fluctuations. Fluctuations thought to be equivalent to those during puberty. An initial drop in progesterone is followed by a drop in different forms of estrogen. These fluctuations may cause a myriad of symptoms such as hot flashes, insulin resistance, osteoporosis, loss of muscle mass, mood & sleep changes, and genital, urinary & sexual symptoms (genito-urinary syndrome of menopause [GSM]). There is also an increased risk in developing cardiovascular disease when going through this transition. However, approximately 80% of heart disease, including heart attacks and strokes, can be prevented with lifestyle changes. Cardiovascular training plays a significant role in this prevention. Which type of cardiovascular training promotes better health through and after menopause? Interval training (also called anaerobic training).
Interval training (anaerobic training)
Anaerobic training means increasing the intensity of energy demand on your body by increasing the tempo (rhythm) or resistance of movement during a short period of time. Anaerobic exercise is more potent in increasing estradiol levels (estrogen) and maintaining muscle mass compared to aerobic exercise. It’s also said to alleviate menopausal symptoms. This doesn't mean that aerobic training is dangerous or should be avoided … There are benefits in any type of exercise that contributes to increasing our capacity for oxygen consumption. However, when focusing on hormonal regulation and support after menopause (after your last menses), interval training should be part of your movement routine.
The good news is that anaerobic training is short in length (with higher intensity).
Here are some examples of anaerobic training sessions that could be integrated 2-3 times/week in your movement routine.
*We highly recommend you consult a kinesiologist or personal trainer to build a program appropriate to your body. Contact us if you want referrals!
- Pick 4 full body exercises (example: overhead bodyweight squat, marching with movement of the arms above your head, running, etc).
Do 4 sets of 4x [ 40 sec exercise followed by 20 sec rest ]
- Running intervals (ideally on a soft surface)
Example: 1200m 5x at 70% of your maximum heart rate.
To calculate your maximum heart rate, subtract your age from 220.
You don’t need fancy equipment, weights or much experience to integrate anaerobic training to your life. Have fun with it!