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RE-START YOUR LIFE WITH MENOPAUSE!

  • JWB Post
  •  January 18, 2014

 

Today women’s health & longevity have improved significantly. Even as recently as a century ago,
a large percentage of women did not live up to menopause. Improved nutrition & medical care have contributed to the long life of women.

Menopause is a transitional change in a woman’s life. She faces several problems during this time. The episode of mood swings & outbursts of anger not only affects the female but upsets the family members as well. The subsequent events may lead to depression.

In western world menopause is recognized as an entity because there is a drastic change in a woman’s hormonal status during this phase of her life. But unfortunately in India, it is considered to be a more or less nonexistent entity & the symptoms are labeled as “hysteria or attention seeking behavior”. Sometimes it is confused with ’empty nest syndrome’ wherein it is decided that a woman is behaving erratically because her children are now grown up, have gone away & are not so much dependent on her. But nobody tries to understand what she is really going through. In sharp contrast to west where various remedies are offered & there are self help groups, in our scenario the woman is not offered any kind of help & is left alone to deal with this troublesome phase of her life.

Lifestyle changes are vital for “feel-good” brain chemistry that turns aside negative thoughts and depressed feelings. Adequate exercise is a crucial ingredient missing in most women’s lives. Activities such as brisk walking, aerobics, dance & tennis/golf not only help the heart but also the muscles, bones, balance & weight management.

Women who exercise regularly report fewer hot flushes. Research specifically done on menopausal women has found that
• moderate cardiovascular exercise decreased hot flashes 24 hours after exercise (Elavsky et al. 2012);
• regular moderate-intensity physical activity (60 minutes/day) had a favorable effect on menopause symptoms and quality of life (Coutinho de Azevedo Guimarães & Baptista 2011);
• resistance and aerobic exercise were found to have a positive impact on menopausal symptoms, psychological health, depression and quality of life (Ağıl et al. 2010); and
• women with healthy body mass index (height-to-weight ratio) scores reported lower levels of vasomotor symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats. Data suggested a positive association among somatic/psychological dimensions, health-related quality of life and regular exercise (Daley et al. 2007).
But Moderation Is the Key! Moderate—rather than vigorous—physical activity has the most positive effect on menopause symptoms and menopausal quality of life.
Exercise Tips for Menopausal Women:
• Keep exercise level at a moderate intensity (target heart rate = 50%-70% or 4-8 MET).
• Keep body temperature at your comfort level to avoid increase in vasomotor symptoms such a hot flashes and night sweats.
• Add cardiovascular, Pilates and/or meditation components to improve quality of life.
• Add resistance training and Pilates to increase bone mineral density and help maintain a healthy BMI.
• Strive to exercise 60 minutes a day for a minimum of 12 weeks to garner the best results.
Diet & health are intimately linked & women who are approaching menopause have special dietary concerns. Including soya proteins & calcium rich food in diet helps in countering the short term and long term complications that might occur due to menopause.

There is no doubt that meditation & taking up the hobbies (which you always wanted to pursue but never had the time for it) are very effective ways of dealing with this upheaval occurring inside the body.

Last but not the least, as somebody has very rightly said ” life is like riding a bicycle, to keep balance you have to keep moving”  . So go on, enjoy your life because LIFE STARTS AT 60 !

By: Dr. Ruchira Solanki,
Director, Tagore Hospital

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