However, if you are only doing cardio, you will likely begin to lose muscle as you approach menopause, so you need to add some type of weight training to your routine to build muscle and improve your metabolism. If the thought of lifting traditional weights seems boring, intimidating, or not feasible in your schedule, there are many other options. I personally recommend a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workout that uses weights because it combines your cardio and weight training. While it might seem intimidating at first, it can be scalable to all ages and fitness levels. Or yoga may be more your style. Types of yoga that really engage your muscles and core (like power yoga or vinyasa) can also help with your strength and metabolism. Yoga has also been shown to reduce other menopausal symptoms like brain fog, hot flashes, and insomnia.
Other options would be body-weight exercises than can be found in a plethora of YouTube videos, Pilates, or barre workouts. The key is finding a workout that you like (or at least don’t hate) and staying consistent.
Check Your Refrigerator
While exercise can help improve your metabolism and maintain your weight, you cannot exercise your way out of a bad diet. I often will gain 3-5 pounds when I am marathon training (running 40-50 miles a week) because I am so hungry, I eat all the time. When I was in my 20s, I could mostly eat what I wanted as long as I exercised daily, but when I hit my mid-30s, I had to start watching my diet too. And by 40 I had to be purposeful about both to maintain a healthy weight. Many of us have let some healthy habits lax over the last year of 2020, and it’s time to get our health back on track.
The first step is to cut out or significantly cut back on added sugar and alcohol. Your body doesn’t need these empty calories, and they provide no nutritional value. I love cookies and wine as much as anyone, but my metabolism does not. You will also enjoy them more if they are a special-occasion treat and not an everyday habit. Next is trying to make sure you are eating five to seven servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Limiting fried foods, processed foods, and red meat is also important. I do not recommend any specific “diet,” but rather finding a healthy way to eat that you can incorporate into your life for the long term.