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I like the way you move: exercise your way through menopause

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Fitness expert Lucy Wyndham-Read has the HIIT list you need  

Every single one of us needs to look after our body. That’s not just specific to menopause. But often at this stage in our life we have to give ourselves a kick up the bottom to start getting healthy. We can’t just sit at a desk all day – we need to make sure we’re doing some form of daily activity. We are designed to move. 

Exercise is vital around the time of menopause: for our mental health and confidence; for our bones, to prevent osteoporosis and strengthen our frame; for heart health; to activate muscle tissue and help increase our metabolism; to lubricate joints and improve balance; to help manage our weight and regulate our sleep. It can improve so many of our symptoms. 

On a personal level, if I want to feel strong and confident, I have to exercise. I’m not going to let menopause slow me down, or stop me loving fashion, or buying the clothes I want. If it means I’ve got to work that little bit harder for it, so what? It means my heart’s getting stronger and I’m getting fitter.  

In our twenties and thirties, we take our body for granted. Then, suddenly, the weight arrives around your waist like an Amazon parcel. We need to bring out the tools to change that. So in our forties, fifties and beyond, we have to work – but we can become stronger, fitter, better. It’s really exciting when women realise that.  

Be sensible, though. You can still enjoy life. Just incorporate more exercise. Change it up. Try to do some kind of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) five days a week – I’ve suggested a routine below that only takes five minutes – then on Saturday and Sunday, go for a walk or a swim. Have a goal – that might be doing 10,000 steps a day. Even if it’s raining outside, walk round the house, or up and down stairs. Just keep moving. 

Lucy’s HIIT list  

I’ve put together five exercises for MegsMenopause. Do each one for one minute (that’s five minutes in total) – or double up for a 10-minute workout. Always warm up before you start: march on the spot for 30 seconds, then begin.  

1 Step back lunge with arm pull

Lunges are great for lower-body bone strength. When stepping back, your knee should be safely in line with the ankle; adding in the arms means you’re working the core. This move is good for osteoporosis and joint mobility: it targets the ankle, knee, hip, elbow and shoulder.  

 

2 Squat and twist elbow to knee 

Squats are good for bone density and working the glutes. We want to keep our booty toned. With the twist, we’re working into the waist – an area lots of women feel they lose in menopause. 

3 Lucy’s waist-shaper

This is a lovely exercise for the waist. It’s incredible for balance, too. You’re using your core strength, which is so important. You may not be as active as you once were, and if you let your core go now, you leave yourself open to back issues.  

4 Skater’s lunge

This one ticks every box – it’s my favourite exercise. It’s great for cardio – heart health is so important in menopause – but is low impact, so it’s safe on the joints. It works every single muscle group, and the deeper you take the lunge, the harder it is.   

5 Box press-up 

Press-ups are amazing for your upper body (they help to lift the Cooper’s ligaments, which are your natural bra strap) and for bone density in the arms. There are three variations; box; three-quarter, on the fleshy part of your knees; or full press-up. Keep challenging yourself to move on to the next level. 

Bonus  

Finally, do a minute of whatever you want: walking on the spot, crazy dancing, star jumps, running – just enjoy it.   

Cool down (click here to view)

How to do a Cool Down Stretch

Don’t forget to stretch.  

Ex-army fitness expert and YouTuber Lucy Wyndham-Read is a trainer with more than 25 years’ experience helping women feel and look their best. Follow her on Instagram @lucywyndhamread  

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Meg's Quote

If you are depressed,
you are living in the past.
If you are anxious,
you are living in the future.
If you are at peace,
you are living in the present.
– Lao Tzu –

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