Why Walking Is Good for Perimenopause
Improving my health was one of the reasons I decided to take up walking. All sorts of things started to go wrong for me from severe mood swings during certain times of the month to feeling utterly exhausted no matter how many hours sleep I got. It was when reading up on how to improve my health that I came across Perimenopause. It was the first time I had heard about it. Since then I have been devouring all the information I can about it, I believe that knowledge is power so understanding it helps with dealing with it.
Menopause and Perimenopause is often thought of as ‘the last taboo’, trailing behind many other health and wellbeing issues that are covered in great detail. Even writing this blog post I feel embarrassed about it, as if it’s something to be ashamed off.
However, it is imperative that we all talk about, that we open up the conversation about Perimenopause and the Menopause, after all it is something that every single woman will experience no matter if we get symptoms or not. The menopause can be a very emotional and distressing time for women so we need to be equipped with the knowledge and skills that will help us manage any symptoms we may experience.
What is Perimenopause?
It is also known as the menopause transition. Perimenopause takes place several years before the menopause and can last from four years to eight years. It can happen to women in their late 30’s to early 40’s. With the average age of menopause being 50 you can see why it’s important for us women to understand Perimenopause and educate ourselves on how to deal with the symptoms.
Perimenopause does not happen to all women but for those who do, it is a normal process. According to Eileen Durward author of the A. Vogel The Menopause Guide Perimenopause it is “the first phase during which your hormonal balance begins to change. Many women will begin to experience menopausal symptoms at some point during the peri-menopausal phase.”
I would highly recommend you visit the A.Vogel website to equip you with the information on Perimenopause.
It’s a balancing act with your hormones during the perimenopause!
Symptoms of Perimenopause
There are several symptoms related to perimenopause and you may experience some of them or none if you are lucky!
- Hot flushes
- Night sweats
- Changing periods (duration, flow)
- Mood swings
- Loss of confidence
- Breast tenderness
- Aches and pains in your muscles
How Walking Can Help with Perimenopause
Brisk walking has really helped me deal with the symptoms I have been experiencing. A study of women in their middle-age found that those who walked briskly and hit over 10,000 steps per day decreased the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. This is all great news as keeping fit is the key to fighting any signs of perimenopause and menopause itself.
Walking is also a great mood booster. I am walking proof of that one! There are times when I can’t seem to shift a bad mood (that seems to come on for no apparent reason) and it is gone by the time I finish my walk. In fact a study conducted by the North American Menopause Society suggests that brisk walking is much better for helping with low mood than running! Fantastic news for us walkers.
Who couldn’t feel better after a walk and seeing all these beautiful flowers? Great mood booster.
Knowing that exercise can help with moods a further study which followed 2891 women for 10 years as they went through menopause found the more physically active these women were the less they suffered from depression. This really is good news that rather than taking a pill we just have to put our shoes on and get walking. This makes me happy that I won’t be reliant on popping pills.
Can Walking help with Hot Flashes
It’s very common during Perimenopause to experience hot flashes – more so than normal. There could be a number of triggers for this such as stress, drinking alcohol or coffee or being exposed to dramatic changes in temperature. Anything that is demanding on us can cause hot flashes.
Stress is actually one of the major factors in triggering these awful things! The release of adrenaline into the bloodstream causes your heart to race and blood flow to increase, leading to a subsequent increase in temperature. A hot flush is your body’s response, its attempt to cool the body down. But a hot flush can be overwhelming in its intensity and leave you sweating and even shivery afterwards, as your body attempts to bring your temperature back to a normal level.
Fresh air also helps during Perimenopause – beach walking is fantastic!
Walking is a great way to counter act this. Exercise impacts upon our hormones and releases them but if you do high intensity cardio it will have a negative impact upon your hot flashes and cause them to get worse whereas walking won’t have such an impact upon your body by increasing the production of serotonin which will minimise the risk of you getting a hot flash. It will also balance your hormone levels and reduce stress as mentioned above.
I’ve come up with some tips to help you through the Perimenopause, these are things that I have started and will continue to do. I have noticed a fantastic difference to my symptoms by making these very small changes. I’d love to know what you think, just let me know below.
My Top Tips to Help you through the Perimenopause
Taking regular walks will help with your mood swings as well as staying healthy in your body and mind. You should aim for 5 times per week. You don’t need to go to a gym, a brisk walk is fine. If you need some tips on how to fit walking in to your every day routine, then head over to my blog post on how to get 10,000 steps a day.
Nutrition before, during and after the menopause is so important. We need to look after our bodies. I recommend you read Eating Your Way Out of the Menopause to learn more about the importance of diet and good nutrition during this transition period. I am trying my best to eat more fruit and vegetables and stay off sugary and refined carbs. It is difficult but I need to ensure I am healthy as I transition through this period of my life.
- Good Sleeping Habits
If you are anything like me, the symptoms I have been experiencing have made it extremely tired. It’s important therefore to get enough sleep. That means keeping mobiles turned off when you go to bed! Make sure your bedroom is a sanctuary when you can relax and unwind. I treat myself to a long bath a few times a week and light candles. It’s very relaxing and good if you suffer from cramps.
- Avoid caffeine
Try to avoid caffeine as much as possible but avoid it close to bedtime. Switch to a more relaxing hot cup of chamomile tea which will help you unwind. This is one tip I am struggling with to be honest. I drink 4 cups a day of 2 coffee and 2 tea. I have started to try other teas but can’t seem to get the hang of drinking chamomile tea at all. If you have any ideas of what else I could try just let me know below.
Taking time for yourself is a great and walking is the perfect time. You often see me walking with my camera to take lovely snaps of what I find on my walks!
- Time out for yourself
During these changes to your body it is even more important to take time out for yourself. Which can be extremely tough if you have a job and children! It is important though that we take time to recharge our batteries. Why not have a nice long soak in the bath or start meditation. Taking time out for 30 minutes a day has proven to reduce the symptoms of perimenopause! My time out is my walks. It’s such a lovely relaxing time as I walk to the train station after work. It gives me the space I need to calm down after work and to get some needed fresh air that helps with sound sleeping.
- Drink more water
Increasing your water intake can also help reduce symptoms. I can vouch for this! After reading this tip I immediately started to drink more water and my symptoms have improved. Of course, it is difficult drinking more water especially in the winter. But with a few changes I now drink a glass first thing in the morning and have a water bottle beside me as I type this and continually sip during the day. Drinking little and often is the key.
- Take control
There are many therapies and treatments that will help get you through any symptoms you are dealing with. A.Vogel have a Menopause Support supplement for all stages of the Menopause and their Arnica Gel will help with any joint issues you are having. I have just this week started to take a supplement as I wanted to start on a preventative journey rather than waiting until it was too late. I want to be in control of what happens to me and feel that I am doing something to prevent it or minimise the symptoms.
- Seek support
It can be lonely going through the Perimenopause, but you don’t have to do it on your own. Chat to family and friends or your doctor. I am determined to find out as much information as I can and be well prepared for what changes happen to my body. I guess the one thing I have learnt through all of the information out there is that we are all different and may or may not experience one or all of the symptoms of Perimenopause.
I do hope you decide to take up walking as one way of keeping the symptoms in check. I’d love to know how you get on.
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