Menopausal women benefit most from going hard and then easy to allow their body to recover and make adaptations. Stay out of the gray zone of “kinda hard.”
The best type of high intensity training for menopausal women is very short (30 seconds max) all out efforts with short recovery. You can employ this strategy no matter your sport of choice - running, cycling, swimming, CrossFit. Warmup, go 20-30 seconds of maximum effort, rest 10 seconds, and repeat 6-8 times at least twice a week. Efforts longer than 60 seconds cause an increase in the stress hormone cortisol, which you don’t want be elevated longer than necessary because cortisol levels are harder for your body to manage in menopause.
Also, get to the gym and lift weights. By the time you turn 40 (if not before), you start losing muscle. Menopause accelerates the muscle loss. To maintain your muscle mass, you need to lift heavy weights. You won’t get “too muscular;” instead, you'll counteract some of the catabolic effects of low estrogen. Choose exercises that utilize multiple muscle groups and lift the heaviest weight you can for 6-8 repetitions at least twice a week. Make sure you do an adequate warmup before your lifting sessions. If you’re not familiar with the exercises, make sure you get a personal trainer to help with form the first time. Menopause requires some changes from our previous exercise routines, but with a few modifications we can maintain the lifestyle that you love.
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