What are Some Solutions for a Better Quality of Life During Perimenopausal and Menopausal Years?

Exercise Regularly

Exercise is proven to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis. Aerobic exercise is best for lowering the risk of heart disease. Weight-bearing exercise enhances well-being, promotes balance and agility, has positive effects on cardiovascular function and is most effective for preserving bone health. Talk to your doctor before you start any exercise program. Lorna Vanderhaeghe agrees with the importance of exercise to decrease menopausal symptoms. She stresses that women work towards reducing stress, get plenty of sleep, and practice relaxation techniques such as visualization, biofeedback, yoga, and deep-breathing exercises. Go for regular massages.

Listening to music while you exercise may improve your fitness, commitment, and enjoyment. Music enhances a workout, it makes you work harder without realizing it, and it makes the workout go by faster. Music takes exercise from just being exercise to being an experience. And music may do more than that. A study in 2005 found that listening to music while exercising boosted participants’ enjoyment and helped exercisers stay consistent. Therefore, music promoted better compliance. Researcher Christopher Capuano, PhD. adds that music can make exercise seem easier or at least keep you from thinking about how hard it is. The women in the study were also more consistent with their exercise.

Eat a Healthy Diet

An optimal diet is proven to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis. The cardioprotective and anticancer effects of a diet low in saturated and transaturated fats and high in fibre cannot be overemphasized. Learn to love fruit and vegetables. Most of us don’t eat enough of them. By upping your intake you can get many valuable nutrients while lowering your fat intake. Limiting fat is an important way to lower blood cholesterol, maintain a healthy weight, and decrease heart disease risk.

Limit Your Alcohol Intake

Alcohol intake can worsen hot flashes because of its effect on blood vessels. Heavy alcohol use is also a risk factor for osteoporosis and other health problems. If you drink, it’s wise to limit your intake to no more than one drink a day.

Manage Your Stress

Stress plays a major role in estrogen overproduction by triggering an elevated level of cortisol, which interrupts the feedback loop between the brain, pituitary, and the ovaries that regulates hormones. Not only can stress over a long period of time worsen hot flashes, it can have other physical effects. For example, uncontrolled stress can cause the ongoing release of stress hormones from the body. Left unchecked, these hormones can raise blood pressure and damage the lining of the arteries to the heart (coronary arteries).This increases the risk of heart disease. If stress is a problem in your life, try some of the stress management techniques below.

Relaxation Techniques

Learn relaxation and sleeping techniques (yoga, meditation, deep breathing, etc.)

Exercise regularly

Exercise can help you deal with stress and improve your sense of well-being.


Working with plants and the earth can be very soothing.

Listen to Music

Choose your favorite CD, sound or tape and relax for 30 minutes.

Avoid Stimulants

Avoid stimulants such as caffeine and tobacco.

Other Ways

Keep a journal in which you can air your worries, sources of stress, and feelings. Also, talk to a friend.

Physical activity such as walking and yoga cannot be stressed enough in helping ease symptoms and increase quality of life during menopause, according to a new study. “The surprising aspect of the study is the fact that we found a significant association between changes in cardio-respiratory fitness and changes in menopausal symptoms,” said lead author Steriani Elavsky, PhD, of Penn State University (March 22, 2007). “This is contrary to other studies, which previously reported no associations.” One hundred sixty-four sedentary menopausal women were randomly assigned to a walking program, a yoga program or a control group that did no additional exercise for four months.

The women who walked or took yoga classes reported a better quality of life and reduced negative effects of menopause compared to the no-exercise group. The women who walked or took yoga classes reported improvements in mood and menopause-related quality of life compared to the no-exercise group. The women, whose average age was nearly 50, completed body composition and fitness assessments along with a battery of psychological tests at the beginning and end of the study, which appears in the April issue of the Journal Annals of Behavioral Medicine.

Walking was chosen for the study because it is an aerobic activity, while yoga was chosen because it is not aerobic, said Elavsky, an assistant professor of kinesiology. The results showed that both walking and yoga were effective at enhancing quality of life. Whether menopausal symptoms improved or worsened appeared to be determined by increases or decreases in cardio-respiratory fitness. Women who experienced decreases in menopausal symptoms in the study also experienced improvements in all positive mental health and quality of life outcomes.


To conclude, menopause can be viewed as a beginning rather than an end; and a perfect time to have a change in lifestyle. Women must try things that you have always wanted to do but had no time for when you were raising young children and building your career. Start with self-care strategies that you have control of. Fortunately, many of the signs and symptoms associated with menopause are temporary. Take these steps to help reduce or prevent their effects:

Cool Hot Flashes

If you’re experiencing hot flashes, get regular exercise, dress in layers and try to pinpoint what triggers your hot flashes. For many women, triggers may include hot beverages, spicy foods, alcohol, hot weather and even a warm room.

Optimize Your Sleep

If you have trouble sleeping, avoid caffeinated beverages and exercise right before bedtime. Practicing relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, guided imagery and progressive muscle relaxation, can be very helpful. You can find a number of books and tapes on different relaxation exercises.

Strengthen Your Pelvic Floor

Pelvic floor muscle exercises, called Kegel exercises, can improve some forms of urinary incontinence.

Eat Well

Eat a balanced diet that includes a variety of fruits, vegetables and whole grains and that limits saturated fats, oils and sugars. Aim for 1,500 milligrams of calcium and 400 to 800 international units of vitamin D a day. Ask your doctor about supplements to help you meet these requirements, if necessary.

Don’t Smoke

Smoking increases your risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer and a range of other health problems. It may also increase hot flashes and bring on earlier menopause. It is never too late to benefit from stopping smoking.

Exercise Regularly

Get at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most days to protect against cardiovascular disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and other conditions associated with aging. More vigorous exercise for longer periods may provide further benefit and is particularly important if you are trying to lose weight. Exercise can also help reduce stress. Try a combination of weight-bearing aerobic activities such as walking, jogging and dancing and strength training exercises. Just staying physically active each day by taking stairs instead of an elevator or by parking farther away and walking to your destination also can make a difference.

Schedule Regular Checkups

Talk with your doctor about how often you should have mammograms, Pap tests, lipid level (cholesterol and triglyceride) testing and other screening tests.