Are you experiencing headaches, night sweats, weight gain (specifically in the midsection), and increased anxiety or depression?
Rattling off all those symptoms sure makes it sound like you’re going through menopause, doesn’t it Except, one important thing is missing: You’re still getting your period every single month.
Well, if your moods are all over the place and you wake up in the middle of the night drenched in sweat, you might be experiencing perimenopause.
Yes, it’s a real thing.
What is perimenopause?
Simply put, perimenopause means ‘around the time of menopause’ and refers to the time during which your body makes the natural transition to menopause. As you go through this process, your body’s production of estrogen and progesterone rises and falls. According to the Mayo Clinic, many of the changes you experience during perimenopause are a result of decreasing estrogen.
The average age of menopause is 51 years old, however, perimenopause can occur in the years prior to cessation of menstruation.While perimenopause typically shows up in women who are in their mid-40s, the symptoms can make an appearance as early as your mid-30s.
Symptoms of perimenopause?
Most women will experience some form of perimenopausal symptoms prior to menopause, which can range from irritability and anxiety to depression and insomnia.
Typically, the symptoms are not just the classical hot flashes that some women experience. Hormonal weight gain, night sweats, hair loss, poor sleep, memory loss, and bloat can also occur in perimenopausal women.
How exercise can help reduce the severity of symptoms
At some point, you will experience symptoms related to perimenopause. While you cannot control whether or not your body goes through these changes, you can find ways to manage the symptoms.
Staying active and eating healthy foods, helps just about every phase of perimenopause. That’s why both exercise and nutrition play leading roles in heading off unpleasant symptoms.
Here are a few reasons why running and other forms of exercise help reduce the severity of some of these unpleasant symptoms:
- Exercise evokes a hormonal response from the body and can strengthen bones, aid balance, and prevent joint stiffness during full-fledged menopause.
- Additionally, staying active, and specifically running, also helps in managing symptoms that come from the shifting moods you might be experiencing. Exercise has been shown to improve mental health by reducing anxiety, depression, and negative mood by improving self-esteem and cognitive function.
- In case you need more reasons to include exercise in your treatment plan to help manage your perimenopausal symptoms, running and staying active can aid in weight loss and help maintain your weight. Difficulty losing weight and weight gain are some of the first signs of early menopause.
- Insomnia can wreck havoc on all parts of your life. Difficulty sleeping is a common occurrence during perimenopause. That’s why running plays such a key role in helping manage symptoms. Exercise helps you get a better night’s sleep, which is good news since insomnia is one of the most irritating side effects of perimenopause.
- You need both aerobic and anaerobic or strength training exercise in order to get the best results. Aerobic exercise reduces your insulin levels and elevates your glucagon level, while anaerobic exercise, such as strength training, causes the body to secrete human growth hormone.
- Focusing on exercise that helps prevent osteoporosis (strength training) is key during this time of bone loss.
- Aim for five days per week with a total of 30 to 60 minutes of aerobic and anaerobic exercise each session.
- Throwing in yoga and stretching can also help manage many of the unpleasant side effects women face.
Has exercise helped you reduce perimenopausal symptoms? If you are relatively new to a fitness regimen, why not give exercises such as yoga a try. Learn more about RunSmart’s yoga workout program designed specifically for runners – click here for more information.