The benefits of exercise are numerous, for instance exercise stimulates brain chemicals (endorphins) that make you feel happier and more relaxed and nurtures emotional and mental well-being. It also helps you feel better about your appearance and boosts your confidence and self esteem. Exercise improves your metabolism and the efficiency of your cardiovascular system so you have more energy.
Exercise also helps you sleep better, gives you more focus to be more productive, helps in weight loss and improves bone density, joint stability and range of motion which are the keys to reducing injury and improving daily function as we age. What can't exercise do!?!! Yet we always seem to find an excuse not to. When I'm feeling too tired and just can't be bothered, I remind myself and my clients "It's hard to start but you always feel better afterwards." When you make the effort to exercise, you never regret it!
You can incorporate exercise into your every day routines like taking the stairs at work, have walking meetings, do 2 minutes of squats while cleaning your teeth, just build more movement into your day and walk everywhere you can.
As we age, there is a loss of muscle mass, often replaced by fat resulting in an increased waistline.
In your 40's, muscle is the key driver of your metabolism and by the time you hit 40 you will have lost around 3-5 kgs of lean muscle mass and most likely gained that much in body fat. A lack of healthy muscle and increased fat particularly around the abdominal region increases your risk of diabetes and even cancer but you can make a big impact on your belly fat and your overall health by starting strength (resistance) training. Strength training is where you use your own body weight, dumbbells or machines to build strength of the muscles and is very effective for burning calories as you gain muscle (It's also crucial to minimise sugar and avoid added sugar where possible as this is the main culprit for belly fat). Starting resistance training at least 2-3 times a week will also boost metabolism, preserve the quality and health of your muscle and bone density and helps not only battle the belly fat but also helps manage menopausal symptoms in conjunction with a diet low in processed packaged foods and alcohol.
A good goal is to try and get in 2-3 sessions, at least 30-40 minutes a week and focus on compound movements including deadlifts, squats, lunges, rows and overhead dips and presses.
The other type of exercise that is very effective for perimenopausal women is HIIT (high intensity interval training) Mixing bursts of intense activity with recovery periods is a great way to boost mood, improve cardiovascular health, build resilience, increase strength and keeps you from getting bored doing an entire session of the same thing. HIIT is also a great way to minimise the release of cortisol (stress hormone that contributes to belly fat).
So to fight belly fat and improve mood and help in weight loss particularly if you are in your 40's and 50's your focus should be to stear away from long cardio sessions and start getting into strength training and HIIT in conjunction to low cardio activities like walking. They will be your best
Hope this helps
Lifestylist Health & Fitness