It’s no secret that exercise does much more for you than just tone and strengthen muscles. It’s also a natural stress-reliever, dependable mood booster and a possible way to relieve annoying menopause symptoms like mood swings and difficulty to fall asleep.
Even better? You don’t have to completely revamp your lifestyle to reap the rewards, says Marcy Letourneau, LPN, of Amberen NurseAid. Adding some cardio, stretching and straining training exercises to your weekly workout regimen will help. The Department of Health and Human Services and the American College of Sports Medicine both recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity, and two sessions of strength training exercises a week.
But whether you’re lifting burpees or relaxing into downward dog, be sure you enjoy doing it. Here are a few activities worth considering:
Look for a cardio-heavy activity that uses your large muscle groups and gets your heart pumping. This can mean anything from dancing in your kitchen to taking a water aerobics class to a brisk walk around the neighborhood. In fact, a fast-paced stroll is a favorite of Letourneau’s, since it can be done virtually anywhere, any time.
Improve flexibility by routinely stretching muscles. Be sure to spend 5-10 minutes stretching before workouts and cooling down afterwards. If you prefer working out with a group, consider signing up for a Pilates or yoga class.
Strengthen muscles and reduce body fat with some basic strength training exercises. Dumbbells, weight machines and resistance bands are all good places to start; gradually increase your resistance as you get stronger.