10 tips to help you stay motivated to exercise during menopause
Menopause symptoms can throw off even the most dedicated gym enthusiast, but what if you’re just starting out? Exercise is, without a doubt, one of the best activities you can do for your health. As hormone levels decrease it’s even more essential to exercise so you can increase muscle and bone mass to promote healthy aging.
For those women who are hit the hardest with symptoms, start slow, and set realistic expectations. If poor sleep is an issue, then look for an activity that can ease you into regular movement like yoga, or brisk walking. Exercise can help improve blood sugar, cortisol and stress levels come under control which may also impact the ability to fall and stay asleep. Lowering insulin levels also helps with weight loss. The important thing to keep in mind is consistency and make it a habit.
Here are several strategies you can use to help maintain your motivation and stay on track, as you go through menopause:
1: Set Clear Goals: Define your fitness goals and make them specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). Having clear goals will give you something to strive for and help you stay focused and motivated.
2: Find an Activity You Enjoy: Choose activities that you genuinely enjoy and look forward to. Whether it’s dancing, swimming, cycling, or playing a sport, engaging in activities you find enjoyable increases the likelihood that you’ll stick with them long-term.
3: Create a Routine: Establish a consistent exercise routine that incorporates regular workout sessions into your weekly schedule. Treat your workouts as important appointments that you prioritize and commit to. Over time, it will become a habit that requires less mental effort to initiate.
4: Find a Workout Buddy or Support System: Partnering up with a friend or joining group fitness classes can provide accountability, support, and a sense of camaraderie. Working out with others can make exercise more enjoyable and motivate you to show up consistently.
5: Track Your Progress: Keep track of your workouts, progress, and achievements. Whether you use a fitness app, a journal, or simply mark a calendar, tracking your progress can help you see how far you’ve come and provide a sense of accomplishment, which can fuel your motivation.
6: Mix Up Your Routine: Avoid monotony by incorporating variety into your workouts. Try new exercises, change up your routine, or explore different fitness classes to keep things interesting and prevent boredom.
7: Set Rewards and Incentives: Set up rewards or incentives for reaching specific milestones or sticking to your workout routine. Treat yourself to something you enjoy (i.e a massage or a new book) after completing a certain number of workouts or achieving a particular fitness goal.
8: Focus on the Benefits: Remind yourself of the physical, mental, and emotional benefits of exercise. Regular physical activity improves energy levels, reduces stress, boosts mood, promotes better sleep, and enhances overall health and well-being.
9: Visualize Your Success: Use visualization techniques to imagine yourself achieving your fitness goals. Visualize how you’ll feel, how you’ll look, and the positive impact it will have on your life. This mental imagery can help reinforce your motivation and keep you focused.
10. Be Kind to Yourself: Remember that motivation may fluctuate, and it’s normal to have off days or periods when your motivation is low. Be kind to yourself, acknowledge your efforts, and practice self-compassion. If you miss a workout or have a setback, let go of any guilt or self-criticism and recommit to your goals.
Stay motivated by focusing on the “internal benefits” of exercise
Many women want to look better and that certainly helps with one’s confidence, but consider what exercise does inside your body; specifically your metabolic health.
Consistent exercise increases your insulin sensitivity which is critical to metabolic health and is a major factor in weight loss. Menopause, due to the decrease in estrogen, has a significant impact on how the body regulates insulin and becomes impaired making menopausal women insulin resistant and therefore more prone to metabolic syndrome and weight gain. Lowering blood sugar makes weight loss easier for menopausal and post-menopausal women. The combination of including more healthy saturated fats and quality protein along with lowering the percentage of processed carbohydrates in your diet plus regular exercise is the direction to go in for decreasing insulin; i.e metabolic health.
What is metabolic syndrome you ask? It’s a group of conditions that together increase your risk of cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes and stroke. It can lead to other health problems as well, like conditions related to plaque buildup in artery walls (atherosclerosis) and organ damage. If that information alone isn’t enough to want to make you want to go out and buy a pair of sneakers and sign up for the nearest bootcamp, I don’t know what does. Your body is your temple and if you don’t take care of it, where else are you going to live?
Remember that motivation is a mindset, and it’s important to cultivate a positive and resilient attitude towards exercise. Keep the big picture in mind and know why you made the intentional choice to make fitness a part of your life. It helps to go back to your “WHY” as a reminder, if you lose your way. Experiment with different strategies, be patient with yourself and find what works best for you to stay motivated on your fitness journey so you can look, feel and be Kuhle.