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The key to staying youthful and active after menopause is good nutrition and regular physical exercise.
As you age, your nutritional needs change. Before menopause, you should have about 1,000 mg of calcium daily. After menopause, you should have up it to1,200 mg of calcium per day.
Vitamin D is also very important for calcium absorption and bone formation. Vitamin D can greatly cut your risk of spinal fractures. But, too much calcium or vitamin D can cause kidney stones, constipation, or abdominal pain, especially if you have kidney problems.
The importance of exercise after menopause
Many women gain weight after menopause. This may be because of declining estrogen levels. Raising your activity level will help avoid this weight gain. Regular exercise benefits the heart and bones, helps control weight, and can improve your mood. Women who are not physically active are more likely to have heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and osteoporosis. Sedentary women may also have from chronic back pain, insomnia, poor circulation, weak muscles, and depression.
Aerobic activities, such as walking, jogging, swimming, biking, and dancing, help prevent some of these problems. It also help raise HDL cholesterol levels, the "good" cholesterol. Weight-bearing exercises, such as walking and running, as well as moderate weight training, help increase bone mass. In postmenopausal women, moderate exercise helps preserve bone mass in the spine and prevents fractures.
Exercise also helps improve mood. Hormones, called endorphins, are released in the brain. Improved mood lasts for several hours. It also helps the body fight stress.
Always check with your doctor before starting an exercise program, particularly if you have been sedentary. Your health care provider can recommend the best exercise program for you.
Some women lose interest in sex during and after menopause. The symptoms of menopause, such as drier genital tissues and lower estrogen levels, may add to less interest in sex. However, estrogen creams and estrogen pills can restore elasticity and secretions in the genital area. Personal lubricants may also help make sex more pleasurable.
Women who still have sporadic periods during perimenopause need to continue using some form of birth control. Check with your health care provider about which form of birth control may be best for you.
These tips will help you live a healthy life after menopause. Talk to your health care provider for more information:
If you are thinking about hormone replacement therapy, discuss the risks and benefits with your health care provider first.
Do not smoke. Smoking is a major risk factor for heart disease.
Exercise regularly. Even moderate exercise, such as walking a half-hour, 3 times a week is beneficial.
Maintain a healthy weight through a balanced, low-sugar diet.
Control high blood pressure with medicine or lifestyle changes. This will help cut your risk for heart disease.
Reduce stress in your life through relaxation methods or regular exercise.
Bayhealth is Southern Delaware’s healthcare leader with hospitals in Dover and in Milford. Bayhealth provides a wide range of medical services, including cardiovascular, cancer, orthopaedics and rehabilitation, pediatrics, respiratory care, sleep care, surgical weight loss and women’s services.