Healthy Habits to Embrace as You Reach Menopause

Dorian Martin Health Guide
  • So what habits should women who are entering menopause embrace as we get older? Gold’s Gym has published a list of what you should do (and not do) in order to live to be 100.

    In our 40s, the recommendation involves taking part in weight training. This recommendation is based on the loss of 5-7 pounds of muscle which is lost each decade; additionally, weight training slows memory loss. Gold’s recommends starting with squats and lunges in order to avoid knee problems. Additionally, we should focus on the lower back in order to strengthen core muscles that may have become flabby due to inactivity.

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    In our 50s, Gold’s suggests finding an exercise buddy and try to curb the belly fat. Weight lifting is still a key part of the program, as is taking care of joints through taking fish oil and other supplements to reduce inflammation. Fighting belly fat is a focus as well since excess belly fat can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and some cancers. Additionally, working out with someone is highly recommended. “Japan has the highest life expectancy of any country, and while you can chalk up some of that to dietary habits – green tea, lots of seafood – there is also a strong sense of community in the culture, which plays a huge part in longevity,” said personal trainer Jonny Bowden on the website.

    Women in their 60s should break bad habits (such as smoking) and add good ones. One habit that is recommended is increasing vitamin D intake in order to maintain bone health. Additionally, Gold’s website recommends staying active, trying new things and maintaining relationships.

    These are great tips. What else can you do to age gracefully? Here are some ideas:

    • Work on flexibility. I’ve noticed as I’ve aged that I just don’t move as smoothly. I’m trying to get better about stretching (especially after having experienced some lower back pain recently).  I found this great book called “Stretching Anatomy” by Arnold G. Nelson and Jouko Kokkonen. Some of the moves are a little bit intense, but it definitely helps me visualize what muscles I’m stretching (and why).
    • Work on balance. I’ve also noticed that as I’ve gotten older, my sense of balance has decreased. When doing a hamstring stretch in exercise class, I find I need to hold on to something to keep my balance. That never used to happen before. So I am going to try to practice some of the moves that I’ve encouraged my 80-something-year-old father to do to improve his balance.
    • Eat a more plant-based diet. I’ve been reading Mark Bittman’s book, “Food Matters: A Guide to Conscious Eating.” The plan that Bittman recommends – eating a diet that focuses more on vegetables, fruits, and grains, and limits eating meat.

    Being proactive in making lifestyle choices at each decade is really important in order to age well. I think each of us wants to live a long life as long as it’s healthy. So what are you adding to your regime in this decade?

Published On: June 15, 2010