Menopause and Bone Density: Can Exercise Help?
Last month, The Truth About…The Menopause brought the long-time taboo topic of menopause to the mainstream as part of a BBC1 primetime TV programme hosted by Mariella Frostrup.
The documentary looked at many different factors surrounding the menopause, with one segment focusing on menopause and bone density, as this can be adversely affected by the natural drop in oestrogen that triggers menopausal symptoms.
This is why a woman’s risk of osteoporosis can increase during post-menopause, and it’s why it’s so important to exercise regularly to reduce this risk - but it’s just as vital to find the right type of exercise that won’t put extra unnecessary pressure on your bones.
In The Truth About…The Menopause, Mariella looked at the effects of different types of exercise on bone density, finding that running, Zumba and dancing could be the best options for women who are approaching or going through the menopause. But why is this the case?
Exercises to Manage A Decline in Bone Density
The programme followed a group of menopausal and post-menopausal women as they tried out different types of exercise, having their bone density measured along the way.
Running, Zumba and dance classes were found to be among the most beneficial exercises for the bones and joints of menopausal women. This is partly because they provide the whole body with a workout, using multiple muscles and exercising different bones and joints.
These exercises were compared to cycling and were found to be much more beneficial, as cycling can place extra pressure on the knee joints, potentially increasing the risk of osteoporosis further, whereas the other types of physical activity spread their impact across multiple areas.
It’s important to think about how much pressure the exercises you do will place on your bones and joints to manage your bone density and overall bone health as best as you can; exercise can help, as long as you pick the right kind of activity.
What else can you do to manage menopause and bone density?
Other Ways to Manage Bone Density in Menopause
There are certain foods that you can eat to encourage stronger bones, with those that are naturally rich in calcium and vitamin D particularly beneficial. These include dairy products, leafy green vegetables such as broccoli and cabbage, soya beans and other soy products, including tofu.
You’ll actually find vitamin D and soy (in the form of DT56a) in Femarelle® Unstoppable natural menopause supplements, which are designed to be taken by women going through post-menopause or by menopausal women who are especially concerned about their osteoporosis risk.
These menopause supplements are intended to be taken as part of a healthy lifestyle alongside a balanced diet and regular exercise, and you could find them helping with other symptoms of menopause too, such as mood swings, hot flushes and vaginal dryness.
Shop the full Femarelle® range available from Menopause Supplements here.