Menopause symptoms like mood swings, sleeplessness, and hot flashes can dramatically alter your life. Losing weight may suddenly be difficult too. Before you reach for hormone replacement therapy or other medication, try exercise. It’s great for both your physical and emotional health and well-being. Consider a variety of exercises to keep things interesting and fun.
Exercises which can potentially reduce menopause symptoms include aerobic activity, yoga, Pilates, stretching, dancing, walking, and strength exercises. Make today the day you take a step forward for a better tomorrow.
Menopause exercises you need
Menopause is a time in your life when taking control of your health will pay huge dividends. Think of it as a personal journey to a better you, because you’re managing your menopause symptoms, so they don’t control you.
You do this by creating a lifestyle built around healthy eating, avoiding foods that make symptoms worse, eliminating or reducing your alcohol consumption, engaging in physical activity on a daily basis, and managing stress through mind-body techniques.
In midlife, many people slow down and become less active. However, this is an important time to push yourself to move if you want to feel better and increase the odds of aging with grace.
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The latest physical activity guidelines suggest at least 150 minutes of exercise a week, plus muscle-strengthening exercises twice a week.
While cardio exercises like running, biking, and swimming are excellent physical activities, you can also see benefits from bodyweight exercises, yoga, dancing, and Pilates.
It’s estimated 50 percent or more of older adults drop out of exercise programs within six months. So, mix it up, find an accountability partner or group class, so you stay physically active and get through menopause, with greater ease.
This is a collection of great exercises for midlife women, whether you’re already active or trying to jumpstart a previously sedentary life. You can do these at home or in the gym and with or without equipment.
You will find a range of options, from those great for beginners to others which will provide challenging routines to keep you engaged and aware of your progress over time.
Table of Contents
- Workout at home with no equipment
- HIIT workouts
- Strengthening exercises
- Mind-body therapies (Yoga, Yoga Nidra, Tai Chi, Qigong)
Before you start an exercise program, talk with your doctor. There is a risk of injury or an adverse event when you start a new exercise routine, or if you have an underlying chronic condition. Always ask your doctor for the best recommendation for you, especially if you’ve been leading a sedentary lifestyle.
Workout at home with no equipment
It’s possible to workout at home with no equipment or minimal equipment if you don’t want to invest in a gym membership, exercise equipment, or a workout program or app.
Your bodyweight is a great tool in your quest to get stronger and more fit. These are some workout videos you can try at home.
Arms and abs workout | POPSUGAR Fitness
30-Minute Cardio At-Home | Pahla B Fitness
40-Minute Intense Cardio and Sculpting | POPSUGAR Fitness
This video includes modifications and advanced techniques.
30-Minute Full-Body Toning Workout | POPSUGAR Fitness
30-Minute Cardio and Core Workout | POPSUGAR Fitness with Massy Arias
Dancing through Menopause
Do you get tired of exercise workouts? Get up and dance!
It’s a great way to get your heart beating while having fun. In fact, it’s shown to offer you all the benefits of traditional exercise like building muscle and bone, reducing fat, lowering blood pressure, and staving off cognitive decline. It also improves balance, coordination and will probably put a smile on your face too!
You can turn on your favorite music and start moving, take a class like Zumba®, which most gyms offer, or try “The Hot Flash Mob.”TM
That’s a choreographed dance movement synchronized to a Latin beat. It celebrates the grace, beauty, and strength of menopausal women.
Hot Flash Mob Dance | The Menopause Mambo
Latin Dance Workout | POPSUGAR Fitness with Nicole Steen
Low-Impact Dance Moves | POPSUGAR Fitness
Zumba® For Beginners | Zumba®
If you want to burn a lot of calories in a short amount of time, try high-intensity interval training or HIIT workout. They’re popular; however, they can be challenging workouts and can cause injuries, so talk with your doctor before trying HIIT.
And, while exercise can benefit your immune system, it is extremely important to balance these types of workouts with days of rest and recovery. Doing too much with too little rest can actually increase the body’s susceptibility to infection.
Many HIIT workouts can be done with just your bodyweight like burpees, long jumps, and sit to stands. VerywellFit put together several circuits, for advanced fitness levels. You work for 40 seconds and rest for 20.
HIIT Workout for Beginners | Fabulous 50’s
At-Home Workout to HIIT Menopause | Lucy Wyndham-Read
HIIT Workout 30 Minute Total Body With No Equipment | Follow The Lita TV
Want to slow it down a bit? There’s nothing wrong with walking. It can be a cardio exercise if you move fast.
A study of 89,000 menopausal women found walking at a fast pace for 40 minutes several times a week can reduce heart disease risks by 25 percent.
These exercise videos can help you mix-up your walking routine, so your heart is pumping!
Upgrade Your Walking | SilverSneakers
Walk At Home | Lucy Wyndham-Read
30-Minute Walk with Strength Intervals | SilverSneakers
Core Exercises for Menopausal Women
Your core controls a lot more than you probably think, and it’s usually one of the weaker body parts.
A weak core can cause low back pain, poor posture, loss of balance, and decreased stability.
For many women, their core is not only weak but also the location of extra body weight. During menopause and midlife, women tend to gain weight in their midsection, thus the terms menopause belly or muffin top.
It not only impacts your self-esteem, but that extra weight in your midsection can be a health issue too.
Carrying weight in your middle can be a risk factor for cardiovascular disease and can increase the likelihood of a second heart attack if you have already suffered one. Improved nutrition and exercise are good first steps to achieve a healthier lifestyle and to manage weight gain.
Core work should be just one part of a well-balanced exercise routine.
Core Strength Exercises For Those Who Hate It | Pahla B Fitness
Muffin Top and Belly Workout | LifeFit 360 with Denise Austin
Empowering Core Workout for Older Women | Pahla B Fitness
Core and More | Dr. Kristie Ennis, DPT, CSCS
Kegel Exercise Beginner Workout | Dr. Kristie Ennis, DPT, CSCS
- Core Strength Exercises (Slideshow) | The Mayo Clinic
- 5 Moves that Burn Belly Fat | Prevention
Pilates offers you a chance to improve flexibility, mobility, balance, physical strength, and emotional resilience. Menopausal women need to focus on these components, because as you age, it’s harder to maintain your balance, and falls become more common.
Pilates can be very active, so it’s a great cardio exercise as well.
10-Minute Pilates | LifeFit 360 with Denise Austin
Standing Pilates | SilverSneakers
As you age, balance becomes a common problem and can lead to falls. In general, a holistic exercise routine increases your balance and reduces the risk of falling. To take it one step further, you can focus on balance-specific exercises.
10-Minutes To Better Balance | SilverSneakers
7-Minute & 7 Day Challenge to Improve Balance & Posture | Lucy Wyndham-Read
Strength & Balance | SilverSneakers
7 Bodyweight Moves for Balance | SilverSneakers
Remember, aim for strengthening exercises two days a week.
You can focus on overall muscle strength with your bodyweight or use a set of weights or resistance bands to increase the intensity of your workouts.
Studies indicate that resistance training improves muscle strength for middle-aged and older adults safely and effectively. Again, always consult with your doctor before you start a new exercise routine.
7 Hip Strengthening Exercises | SilverSneakers
Squat Free Lower Body Strength | Pahla B Fitness
Wall Push-Ups | SilverSneakers
- Resistance Band Workout Slideshow | POPSUGAR Fitness
- Step-Up | Mayo Clinic
Now, it’s time to slow it down. Don’t forget stretching before and after physical activity. It’ll reduce injuries and increase mobility, plus it may reduce menopausal symptoms when done outside of exercise.
In a small study of Japanese women, stretching 10 minutes before bed decreased menopausal and depressive symptoms. Plus, it can help you slow down after a busy day, which may improve your sleep, another menopausal concern. All you need is 10 minutes a day.
30 Minute Stretch and Mobility | SilverSneakers
Top 10 Seated Strength Moves | SilverSneakers
Standing Stretches | SilverSneakers
Unlock Your Tight Hips | Dr. Kristie Ennis, DPT, CSCS
How To Loosen Up The Spine In 5 Minutes | Dr. Kristie Ennis, DPT, CSCS
- Slideshow of yoga poses for tight hips, muscles, and shoulders | POPSUGAR Fitness
Memorial Sloan Kettering describes mind-body therapies as a “group of healing techniques that enhance the mind’s interactions with bodily function, to induce relaxation, and to improve overall health and well-being.”
- Tai Chi
- Yoga Nidra
They offer benefits to menopausal and post-menopausal women.
The Sanskrit word “yoga” means “to join or union,” and the practice of it brings together mental, physical, moral, and spiritual aspects. It’s an ancient holistic art that can take many forms.
Yoga is a calming technique that’s helpful during the stress of menopausal sleeplessness, hormonal changes, and potential weight gain. It also is a great way to build strength, improve flexibility, and extend mobility.
It’s thought even short-term practices of yoga are beneficial for women. So, if you’d prefer a non-hormonal treatment, yoga may offer promising help.
Yoga is not all relaxation. Power yoga can get your heart pumping.
Qigong is 5000 years old and was developed in China. It combines meditation, controlled breathing techniques, postures, and body movement. Qigong helps improve both physical and emotional health.
Tai Chi focuses on deep breathing and coordinated postures that you move through in a slow, graceful sequence.
They’re low-impact, making it accessible to women of all activity levels. And Tai Chi has been shown to help maintain strength, flexibility, and balance.
Studies have also shown these mind-body therapies can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, which can increase with menopause.
You’ll also strengthen your mind, which will help you get through the marathon that is menopause.
Having trouble sleeping? Insomnia is a common complaint among menopausal women. Mind-body therapies, including Yoga Nidra, may offer help in lowering stress and helping you relax and ease the worries of hormonal changes thus making it easier to sleep.
When you practice Yoga Nidra, you’re in a state of complete relaxation. It’s often called “yogic sleep.” In this guided meditation, you follow verbal instructions while lying down, and become aware of your body, feelings, emotions, and senses.
Yoga Nidra allows you to let go of inhibitions, worries, emotions and stress.
Ready to get started?
Yoga for Menopause
Yoga for Your Hips | LIVI Moves with Jessamyn Stanley
Core Yoga | LIVI Moves with Jessamyn Stanley
Yoga for Perimenopause: Hormone Balancing Yoga for Hot Flashes | Brett Larkin Yoga
Yoga for the Pelvic Floor | Yoga with Adriene
Yoga for Abs, Arms, and Attitude | Yoga with Adrienne
Power Yoga for Weight Loss | Yoga with Adrienne
Total Body Yoga – Deep Stretch | Yoga with Adrienne
Yoga for Upper Body Strength | Yoga with Adrienne
Power Yoga to Stretch and Strengthen | POPSUGAR Fitness
Yoga for Better Balance | SilverSneakers
- 27 Calming Songs | POPSUGAR Fitness
- Slideshow of 56 Essential Yoga Poses | POPSUGAR Fitness
Guided Yoga Nidra Meditation with Rod Stryker | Yoga International
20 Minute Guided Meditation | Lizzy Hill
Yoga Nidra for Sleep | Tripura Mandala
Total Yoga Nidra – Nourish Every Dimension of Being | Yoga Nidra Network
- Yoni Shakti: Bhairavi Self Anointing Ritual for Menopause | Yoga Nidara Network
Developing Your Healing Hands | LingGuiQigong
Qigong for Women’s Health | Qigong with Kseny
Qigong to Destress and Relax | Playlist from Qigong with Kseny
Playlist for Flexibility and Joint Mobility | Qigong with Kseny
Qigong for Beginners Playlist | Qigong with Kseny
Snake Walk with a Twist | Deborah Davis
Women’s Qigong | Playlist from Deborah Davis
Qigong 6 Healing Sounds | Liz Hennessy
Qi Gong for Healthy Aging: HOt Flash Relief | Kristen Polzien
Simple Qigong Exercise to Balance Hormones | Sue Crites
5 Element Qigong Practice | Mimi Kuo-Deemer
Tai Chi 5 Minutes a Day Playlist | Taiflow by Leia Cohen
Tai Chi for Beginners | BodyWisdom Yoga, Fitness & Wellness
7 Tai Chi Moves for Beginners | Kung Fu & Tai Chi Center with Jake Mace
Mindfulness and Meditation
Let’s face it – menopause can be stressful, especially if you’re experiencing a wide range of symptoms. While you won’t burn excess calories, reducing stress will make weight gain less likely or weight loss easier. And being grounded and finding calm are invaluable states of mind during menopause. Focusing on your mental strength is just as important as physical health.
Consider a mindfulness practice like meditation as exercise for the mind. These are 4 powerful mental exercises to get you started.
5 Minute Meditation | Follow The Lita TV with Lita Lewis
Deep Breathing Exercises | SilverSneakers
Reducing Menopause Symptoms
Now more than ever, there are limitless options for exercise. Technology makes it easier than ever to stream a workout at home, find an exercise routine that best suits you, or learn a new skill like a Pilates move.
Do something that brings you joy while offering you the benefits you need during menopause. Physical activity can reduce menopause symptoms and improve your quality of life during this natural transition.
What’s your favorite exercise? Who is your favorite fitness instructor?
The foregoing information, resources, links and/or references (collectively, the “Materials”) are provided solely for informational purposes and are not intended as medical or other professional advice. No representation or warranty of any kind is made in connection with the content of the Materials. The Materials may not be current and no one should take any action based on the Materials without first consulting their healthcare professional.
As a physician, healthcare executive at a Fortune 100 company, and integrative health practitioner, Z. Colette Edwards, MD, MBA knows the unique value of a holistic, whole-person approach to health and well-being. She also understands the challenges health inequities can present. Known as “The Insight Doctor,” she offers guidance and powerful tools that prepare your body, mind, and spirit for menopause, stress, and inflammatory bowel disease. Lastly, Dr. Edwards coaches individuals in the development of self-advocacy and health system navigation skills.