Anna Winstanley Physiotherapy York

Unlocking the Power of Exercise: A Comprehensive Guide to Managing Perimenopause Symptoms

A lady using yoga as a way of managing perimenopause symptoms

Understanding Perimenopause and Managing its Symptoms

Perimenopause is a natural transition that typically begins in a woman’s late 30s or early 40s and can last for several years before menopause. Menopause is the day when a woman has not had a period for 12 months. The next day, she is Post-menopausal! This blog is here to help you unlock ways of managing perimenopause symptoms with gentle exercise.

Perimenopause symptoms vary from woman to woman but often include irregular periods, hot flushes, mood swings, sleep disturbances, and changes in libido. This means that managing perimenopause symptoms can vary from woman to woman as well, you can check your perimenopause symptoms here.

The changes can be challenging to navigate particularly at this life stage with growing children, ageing parents and potentially career and relationship stresses too! However,  there are strategies that can help ease the transition, with exercise playing an important role.

Managing Perimenopause Symptoms with Exercise

A lady sits with a dumbell in each hand, working out to help manage her perimenopause symptoms

Regular exercise can provide a wide range of benefits to help with managing perimenopause symptoms:

  • Hormone Regulation: Exercise helps regulate hormones, which can help stabilise mood swings and reduce symptoms like hot flushes.
  • Weight Management: Many women experience weight gain during perimenopause. Exercise can help control weight and maintain muscle mass and bone strength.
  • Improved Sleep: Regular physical activity promotes better sleep patterns, which has a knock-on effect on stress levels, pain, recovery from physical illness. 
  • Stress Reduction: Exercise triggers the release of endorphins, which are your body’s natural painkiller and mood booster! Moving your body helps to relieve muscle tension and manage stress. 
  • Bone Health: Weight-bearing exercise and strengthening helps to maintain bone density and strength, reducing the risk of osteoporosis and fragility fractures in later life.
  • Cardiovascular Health: Exercise supports heart health by lowering blood pressure and reducing the risk of heart disease. It also improves the body’s ability to handle carbohydrates and fats, further improving resilience against metabolic and cardiovascular disease. 

What exercise is best for managing perimenopause symptoms?

The most important thing is to find activities that you enjoy and can incorporate into your routine. See this as an opportunity to restart something you once enjoyed, or discover a new activity that you’ve always wanted to try! Here’s some ideas:

  • Aerobic Exercises: Activities like walking, dancing, jogging, swimming, and cycling are excellent for improving cardiovascular health and mood.
  • Strength Training: Building muscle through weightlifting or resistance exercises can help with weight management and bone health. You could do this in a gym or at home using either body weight, or some dumbells, resistance bands or kettlebells – again, pick something that appeals to you. 
  • Yoga and Pilates: As well as the physical benefits of building flexibility, strength and balance, these mindful movement practices are amazing for reducing stress, which is so important during perimenopause. Stress is a risk factor and a driver for a number of physical health problems including metabolic-cardiovascular disease, weight gain, pain, inflammatory conditions. 
  • Team sports: Getting active with friends, or making new friends along the way is a great way to be active AND improve your mental and social wellbeing. 

Tips for Staying Motivated to Exercise During Perimenopause

A lady going for a jog on the beach to help with managing perimenopause symptoms

Staying motivated to exercise during perimenopause can be challenging, but it’s crucial to maintain consistency. Here are some tips to help you stay on track:

  • Set Realistic Goals: Start with achievable goals and gradually increase intensity or duration.
  • Find a Workout Buddy: Exercising with a friend can make workouts more enjoyable and hold you accountable.
  • Vary Your Routine: Varying your workouts or the type of equipment you use can prevent boredom and keep you engaged.
  • Track Your Progress: Monitoring your achievements can be motivating. Consider using a fitness app or journal.
  • Reward Yourself: Celebrate your successes with small rewards to reinforce positive behaviour.

Seeking Professional Guidance for Exercise During Perimenopause

If you’re new to exercise or have specific health concerns, it’s a good idea to seek guidance from a healthcare provider or certified fitness professional. They can help you create a safe and effective exercise plan tailored to your needs and monitor your progress.

Be proactive with your approach to managing perimenopause symptoms

So exercise really is a non-negotiable in the perimenopausal years, and can be transformative when it comes to managing perimenopause symptoms. It’s a proactive approach to managing symptoms, improving overall well-being, and embracing this significant life transition with confidence and vitality. If you aren’t sure where to begin, or have some issues that have been hampering your efforts, please get in touch to discuss this with me.

Let’s get you back on track for an active and healthy perimenopause. 

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Anna Winstanley

Hi I’m Anna, a Women's Health Physiotherapist and Pilates Instructor in York with a nerdy passion for all things women’s health and wellbeing. I’ve worked with countless women over the years, helping them to feel strong, overcome pain and improve their quality of life so they can be marvellous mums, excellent employees and super selves.

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