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Exercise is important!

#5 – Exercise Regularly

Posted on: December 5th, 2011 by Lara Armstrong No Comments

The Top 5 Ways to Build Healthy Hormones and Prepare for Menopause

By Dr. Lara Armstrong, ND

We all know that exercise is important for your general health and wellness.  This becomes even more important as women enter into the menopausal years.  There is a difference between exercise and physical activity.  Exercise is considered to be a form of physical activity that is planned, structured and routine, with the goal of improvement or maintenance of the exercise that is being performed.  Physical activity, while including exercise, expands further to include any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that requires the expenditure of energy.  This includes anything from walking, playing, housework, active transportation and recreational activities.    The world health organization (WHO) recommendation for physical activity for individuals between the ages of 18 to 64 is 150 minutes of moderate aerobic physical activity per week or 75 minutes of intense aerobic activity per week.   The aerobic activity should be performed for at least 10 minutes duration at one time.  For increased health benefits, the activity should be ideally closer to 300 minutes of moderate physical activity per week and muscle strengthening activities should be included.  The WHO states that physical inactivity is the 4th leading risk factor of death in the world, which equates to 6% of deaths globally.  It is also considered to cause 21-25% of breast and colon cancers and 30% of heart disease.  Physical activity is therefore essential for vitality.

The benefits of exercise for a woman entering menopause are multi-fold.  Not only does exercise help to achieve or maintain good body composition, it also has a profound effect on mood.  When we exercise, endorphins are released by the pituitary gland and hypothalamus in the brain.  The pituitary gland releases endorphins into the blood stream, while the hypothalamus releases endorphins into the spinal cord, in response to exercise.  Excitement, pain, spicy food, love and orgasm are other ways that endorphins will be released in the body.   Endorphins are neurotransmitters that resemble opioids and bind receptor sites within the body that result in the feeling of happiness and well-being and provide the sensation of analgesia.

Menopausal women are also at more risk for osteoporosis due to declining estrogen levels in the body.  Weight bearing exercise has been shown to reduce the risk of osteoporosis and aids in increasing bone density.

The take home message here is to get moving!  Not only will it benefit your health in general but it will aid in your transition through the menopausal time with more success and help you to achieve your health goals.

1.  WHO 2011.  Global Strategy on Diet, Physical activity and Health.

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Lara Armstrong, is a licensed naturopathic doctor who currently practices in Ancaster and Hamilton, ON. She received her training in Naturopathic Medicine from the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (CCNM), graduating in 2004, and started her private practice, Armstrong health in 2005, where she runs a general family practice. In 2007 she started the menopause clinic at Monarch Laser and Wellness in Hamilton. This clinic offers naturopathic treatment for menopause and issues surrounding hormonal imbalance and is run in conjunction with a medical doctor, bringing a very unique and refreshing approach to health care. Dr. Armstrong is very passionate about helping women going through menopause, providing them with education and has been involved in several speaking engagements discussing this topic. Dr. Armstrong has been the recipient of the Diamond Award for “Best Naturopath” in the Hamilton’s Readers Choice for the last 5years. In addition to seeing patients, Dr. Armstrong, is part of a mentoring program with the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine and will have medical students shadowing appointments from time to time. Outside of clinical practice, Lara enjoys the practice of yoga and the health benefits that this provides. She is the mother of 3yr old Jasmine and loves spending time with her and continuing to learn from her. Lara is a member of the OAND, CAND and APND.

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