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August 1, 2012

Menopausal Women Have Poorer Physical Function

Yes, okay, I'm talking about menopause again. As I get closer to age 50, I'm beginning to notice changes that indicate menopause is knocking at my door. So bear with me, I'm doing a lot of reading about how to mitigate the ravages of age on the body in order to hold up against time and age gracefully. For someone like me, with a small build, a northern European background, I run the risk of osteoporosis following "the change."

So, it's no wonder that, as a physical therapist, whose job it is to help people maintain functional mobility, an article about declines in physical functional following menopause will catch my attention. Men also lose functional mobility as they age, but there is something about menopause that speeds the decline in women.

Both men and women lose muscle mass - typically at a rate of 1 to 2 percent per year after age 50. At the same time, studies show, they become less active.

So the trick is to maintain physical activity while you age and your decline in function will not be as dramatic. That means 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity most days of the week. Luckily, as noted in my previous post, that workout can be broken into short bouts throughout the day. Broken into 10 minutes intervals, daily exercise needs can be accomplished throughout the day.

For many, the hardest part is getting started with resistance training. It's not about pumping iron, though you could lead up to that. The CDC has an exercise protocol, broken out into stages of difficulty, that people can follow in order to get started with a fitness program. It doesn't have to be difficult, miserable and sweaty, but do put in enough effort to increase your breathing rate. As with all exercise programs, talk with your doctor first so that you may be screened or advised regarding your health conditions.



Posted by linda at August 1, 2012 6:33 AM

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