When you're going through the menopause, exercise can sometimes be the last thing on your mind. Weight gain, mood swings and hot flushes can make it harder to find the motivation to hit the gym. We asked our fitness expert, Kate Rowe-Ham, all of our burning menopause and fitness related questions.
Kate Rowe-Ham is a Level 3 qualified personal trainer and life coach who specialises in helping women reach their fitness potential. Kate’s aim is to help you find a love of movement, giving you the tools you need to adopt a sustainable and realistic approach to exercise, enabling you to have long-lasting results.
How do you lose weight on HRT? I’m just squidgy?
HRT won’t make you lose weight but in hopefully help you to manage some of the symptoms of menopause, like fatigue, lack of sleep which can lead to lack of motivation and in turn decrease the desire to exercise. It’s important to remember that you can regain strength and muscle definition by using weights and having a suitable fitness program in place.
Why do I sleep better when I am being good with my fitness?
Exercising can improve sleep for many people. Specifically, moderate-to-vigorous exercise can increase sleep quality for adults by reducing sleep onset – or the time it takes to fall asleep – and decrease the amount of time they lie awake in bed during the night. Just like lack of sleep leaves you feeling unmotivated, a good nights sleep with see you jumping out of bed ready to move.
Can I still get strong and flexible after 50? I’m relatively fit but just do yoga, is it enough?
I always tell my clients movement is moving and that is always a brilliant thing. It will help with mobility and flexibility but I would suggest adding weights if you felt comfortable.
Is there any way to survive the menopause without any medication or hormone support?
I do believe there are many natural remedies that can help, and exercise will help manage some. It is important to always see a professional in that field so you get the best advice .
If you had to choose: little and often workouts (everyday 20 mins) or 3 longer sessions per week trying to get off to the best start?
In my personal opinion any movement is fantastic and it really is a case of what works best for you are your time. It’s important to remember we need to have rest days and longer sessions can seem daunting. I would allow 3-4 sessions a week aiming for around 35-45 minutes and then trying to hit your 10,000 steps a day.
is HIIT every day too much? I love it but read a lot about too much high intensity being a bad thing
This depends on you and your body BUT again I would look to cutting back on HIIT and adding strength training to your workouts. It's not that it’s a bad thing but it can put the body under stress and with hormones already running riot at this age, we don’t need to add to that, which can happen if we stress or bodies too much whilst exercising.
Is it possible to build muscle just with body weight or would buying a set of weights for at home really help me to achieve my goals and reduce my body fat %?
Yes, it is but after a while the body will plateau. You can do things like slow down movements to add tension to the workouts but I would also say try to invest in weights or resistance bands in order to maximise the gains you wish to make.
Can I actually reverse the process of ageing as it were?
Around age 30, you begin losing roughly 1% of your muscle mass each year. Because muscle burns fat, this actually leads to fat-based weight gain. You can reverse this process and fight osteoporosis by weight training.
You are very open about your journey through and experiences with the menopause. Are you often confronted with barriers talking about this within the wellness space and how do you overcome them?
I am still working on this and I believe in order to encourage women to get and stay fit and healthy well into later life, we need to start championing a movement to celebrate this demographic by diversifying the images of we currently see in our feeds on social media.