First and foremost is exercise. It does a body good at any time of life. We all need to step away from the screens and move our bodies. Exercise helps with PMS, with pregnancy, with menopause and everything in between. It doesn’t have to be hard core, 4 spin classes a week and 3 weight training sessions. It can be as simple as walking 30 minutes most days of the week, even at a moderate pace. It depends on your fitness level and the stage of your life.
What about those of you who have reached their 40’s or 50’s or beyond and have never had a regular exercise routine. That’s no excuse. Get the okay from your doctor so you rule out heart disease or anything else that might cause problems and then start off slowly. Walking is the BEST exercise! It gets you outside, you get to meet people, take in the scenery, and it’s low cost other than running shoes. If the weather isn’t great for walking, go to a mall and walk … not browse or shop … actually walk J You can always reward yourself with shopping after you’ve done your laps. What if you’re quite overweight and never exercised before? Same guidelines apply. Check with your doctor and start off slowly. I highly recommend a pedometer or Fitbit to keep track of how many steps and aim for 10,000 per day.
One of the benefits to regular exercise is reduced hot flashes!!! Wouldn’t THAT be great!! For those women who like to tackle workouts head on, you’re going to need to dial it back if you’re battling low estrogen unless you are already lean.
Speaking of regular exercise. Sex is one of the best, most enjoyable forms of exercise out there. But what if sex is painful due to dryness or thinning vaginal walls? Use a good lubricant as I discussed here. The more often you have sex, or even just orgasms, the better for your vaginal health. They stimulate blood flow that helps massage, soften and thicken the tissue of the vulva and vagina. Orgasms raise oxytocin levels, which work with estrogen to buffer stress and lower cortisol and help women feel more connected and loving.
Acupuncture! Yes … getting needled can be quite beneficial, especially if you’re experiencing hot flashes. It may, however, take eight to ten weeks of weekly treatments to receive full benefit from it. But stick with it because the benefits are amazing.
Stress reduction. Meditation, journaling, self-care. These are all important aspects to health. Make sure you take the time to care for yourself. We run so hard, for far too long and we need to rejuvenate daily. Five to ten minutes of meditation or deep breathing in a dark, quiet room can have a hugely beneficial impact on our mental health. Given that anxiety and depression are common symptoms of low estrogen and especially during menopause, it only makes sense that we should be taking care of our mental health as well as our physical.
As you can see, there are numerous lifestyle choices that you can make to help increase estrogen, manage symptoms and improve your overall health.
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Until next time, wishing you a fabulous week,