"Who educated you about menopause?" This was the question I asked a group of women who attended my menopause fitness webinar on World Menopause Day. Out of 9 responses, 6 said friends, 2 said their mom or relatives, and 1 said her doctor.
Second to puberty, menopause is the stage of life that impacts every female with physiological and emotional changes, and while we are now shining a spotlight on it, it's still very much shrouded in mystery.
Like puberty, peri-menopause (the transitional period before menopause when hormonal fluctuations start occurring) and menopause (when one year has passed since your last menstruation) take place over a period of time. While puberty can be compared to a flower blooming in spring full of life, menopause is often seen as a plant wilting in autumn preparing to die.
It's true that once you enter midlife, our biological processes begin to decline - muscle and bone loss occur, metabolism slows down, our susceptibility for developing certain medical conditions increases, in addition to feeling overwhelmed with dealing with life and all that comes with it.
Yes - menopause can often feel like the beginning of the end.
But does it have to be?
While you can't stop the aging process that peri-menopause and menopause seem to amplify, you make your journey a healthier, more vibrant one.
You get to change your script by changing your habits.
Take a moment to reflect on how you move, how you feed your body, how you engage your mind and feed your soul on a daily basis. What areas need your attention? The symptoms that occur in peri-menopause and menopause (and they are over 30!) can be annoying and even alarming, but they also serve as warning bells to start implementing healthier habits. Doing so will not only make your transition easier to manage but will improve your overall well-being and longevity.
Here are three areas to focus on to make your menopause better.
Intentional movement - Strength training 2-3x a week to prevent osteoporosis and sarcopenia (muscle loss). Include cardio and more walking to help manage weight, as well as mobility and flexibility exercises to maintain your independence as you age.
Healthier nutrition - Include more wholesome foods instead of erasing entire food groups from your meals. If weight loss is a goal, focus on substituting highly processed foods for farm to table ingredients. Following highly restrictive diets almost always result with gaining back the weight you lost along with feeling miserable.
Prioritize your self-care - Dedicate time to include more happiness in your life is not selfish and it's necessary to balance out the stress and the curveballs life throws us. Schedule time with loved ones and friends, put yourself on your calendar to cater to YOU. And make sure you keep up with your doctor's appointments to monitor changes in your body and catch any medical issues as early as possible.
Redefining your menopause journey is about practical steps, consistency, and a mindset shift from resignation to new opportunities for self-love. By embracing fitness, balanced nutrition, and stress-reducing practices, you empower yourself to navigate this phase with strength and resilience. Take intentional steps toward healthy change, one day at a time and embrace this new chapter with confidence.
So how will you redefine YOUR menopause?
Watch the replay of my webinar, "Embrace the Change, Be Fit & Fabulous in Your Menopause", https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xQ9MQfztdxI to find out how you can change the path of your menopause journey. Also read my recent contribution in HealthDay news, "Exercise and Menopause - What a Personal Trainer Wants You to Know" https://consumer.healthday.com/encyclopedia/exercise-and-fitness-18/misc-health-news-265/exercise-and-menopause-646054.html
Pat Greaves is a Menopause Fitness Specialist, NASM certified fitness trainer and Precision Nutrition coach who specializes in helping women over 40 become a healthier, fitter version of themselves. She has contributed her fitness expertise to Women's Health magazine, Prevention magazine, CNBC Make it, and has been featured on NBC New York.