A message from Dr. Unjali Malhotra, Medical Director – Women's Health
Menopause represents a period of transition. It comes with changes in our bodies, minds, and spirits.
One way to honour the change is to focus attention on taking care of ourselves. Today, we share some of the benefits of introducing even a little bit of physical activity during (and after) menopause:
Mental wellness. While hot flashes and other physical symptoms of menopause get a lot of attention, mental health and brain health are also important. We can feel the effects of menopause on our mood (like depression or anxiety) and/or in our cognition (like foggy brain and challenges multitasking). Getting physically active is one way to help us navigate these experiences.
Connection and purpose. Menopause can take place at a time of household transition. Maybe our kids are leaving home, maybe we are welcoming new grandchildren, maybe we have recently lost a partner, or maybe we are re-entering the workforce. We may need new ways to find meaning and social connection. Taking up an active hobby or exercise program can bring a newfound purpose. Finding a group of friends to go for regular walks or to do online workouts with can both energize and inspire us.
Spirit health. Taking care of our spirits can go hand-in-hand with physical activity, especially when it involves cultural activities that provide connection with our relations, territories, ceremonies and cultures. Activities such as hunting, gathering, dancing, gardening, berry picking and canoeing represent how physical activity has always been part of traditional ways of life.
Bone health. The changes taking place in our bodies during menopause can include loss of bone and muscle strength. Over time, this can put us at risk of a break or fracture that can have a major impact on our quality of life. One of the best ways to prevent bone loss is through exercise.
Heart health. Hormonal changes in menopause are known to impact cardiovascular health and may increase risk of heart disease. Yet, there's a lot we can do to offset this. Adding exercise to your day-to-day routine is one great way to stay heart healthy.
Think about what types of physical activity make you feel great, and carve out some time to include them in your day. You are worth it! What activity would inspire you, make you smile, connect you to your family and community, offer you time to yourself if desired, nurture your self-esteem, or allow your pride to shine? Whatever gets you moving will nourish your mind, body and spirit!
If you're an Indigenous person living in BC, you're invited to Join FNHA's 30x30 Active Challenge during the 30 days of September! Share your 30x30 using the hashtags #FNHAWellness, #30x30ActiveChallengeFNHA, and #BeActiveFNHA.
Watch our social media accounts for more information, and register for the 30x30 Active Challenge here!