Written by Clare Widzgowski
Starting a fitness journey can be challenging, especially if it has been a few years since you’ve exercised or if you’ve never exercised at all! Here is a comprehensive explanation of different types of exercises and their benefits.
Why You Should Exercise – Especially in Perimenopause
Exercise is a powerful lifestyle tool to help improve your physical and mental health. Weight gain is common during perimenopause, but regular exercise can help you manage your weight and BMI, helping to reduce your risk of chronic disease. Chronic diseases associated with a higher BMI include type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease (heart attack, stroke, etc.), high blood pressure (hypertension), and osteoarthritis (a degenerative joint disease).
Exercise can also benefit your mental health by lifting your mood with endorphins and helping you sleep better. Sleep changes in perimenopause such as night sweats or insomnia can be difficult to manage, but regular exercise can help you have longer, better quality sleep.
Types of Exercise You Can Do
Aerobic exercise is an exercise that increases your heart rate through rhythmic and repetitive movement. Examples of aerobic exercise include running, walking, cycling, or swimming. Aerobic exercises are best for those looking to manage their weight, increase their stamina, and strengthen their heart, bones, and muscles.
Strength exercises are those that help you build muscle power and strength. Examples of strength-based exercises include weight lifting, plyometrics (also called jump training or plyos), resistance training, and sprinting. Strength exercises tend to be performed at a lower heart rate and can help stabilize your joints, increase your muscle mass, and promote bone health. Osteoporosis, a decrease in bone mineral density causing weak bones, can increase your risk of fractures. Women engaging in regular strength training have been shown to preserve existing bone density and even increase their bone density.
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
High intensity interval training (HIIT) is short bursts of high-intensity exercise followed by low-intensity exercise or rest. A traditional HIIT breakdown called “tabata” is 20 seconds of high-intensity followed by 10 seconds of rest. HIIT will raise your heart rate, giving you aerobic exercise benefits in a shorter time period. Many workout classes or boot camps are HIIT based.
Stability or Core Training
Stability or core training strengthens core and other stabilizing muscles in lower heart rate zones than aerobic exercise. Pilates and core-based strength exercises can help improve your posture and core strength, protecting your back and spine for daily movement.
Flexibility and stretching aids in recovery, lengthening your muscles for optimal movement. Yoga and individual muscle stretches will help with injury prevention and are low-impact alternatives. Stretching should be incorporated into most other exercise routines for optimal training.
Best exercises for perimenopause
Any type of exercise is good exercise, but there are some types of exercises that might be more beneficial during perimenopause.
Low-impact exercises such as swimming, cycling, yoga, tai-chi and pilates can be especially helpful for those struggling with joint discomfort and pain.
Aerobic exercise can help reduce hot flash duration and intensity. One study found that women who did 45 minutes of aerobic exercise that elevated their heart rate had a 60% reduction in hot flash frequency.
In conclusion, there are multiple different types of exercise that can benefit your health throughout your life and during perimenopause. It can be helpful to try out different types of exercise to figure out what type you like the best. If you have concerns about your ability to do certain types of exercise or any other concerns about working out, speak to your healthcare provider.
At It’sFetch.co we strive to provide valuable and reliable health information through our blog. We believe in empowering individuals to make informed decisions about their health and well-being. However, it is important to understand that the content on our blog is not intended to replace the advice, diagnosis, or treatment provided by a qualified medical professional.
Bailey, T. G., Cable, N. T., Aziz, N., Dobson, R., Sprung, V. S., Low, D. A., & Jones, H. (2016). Exercise training reduces the frequency of menopausal hot flushes by improving thermoregulatory control. Menopause, 23(7), 708-718.
Semeco, A. (2023, February 1). How to start exercising: A beginner’s guide to working out. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-to-start-exercising#TOC_TITLE_HDR_4. Todd, J. A., & Robinson, R. J. (2003). Osteoporosis and exercise. Postgraduate medical journal, 79(932), 320-323.