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How much physical activity should I do in menopause?

Diana Meeks
Diana Meeks on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Family Practitioner

Reasonable exercise goals for women during menopause are a combination of increased activity and strength training. For beginners, just try to walk or garden for 10 to 20 minutes at a time. As your stamina and health improve, ideal exercise goals are about two and a half hours of moderate activity and about one hour of more intense activity each week.

You should try to include about 30 minutes of strength training at least twice a week. Muscle burns more calories than fat. So, adding muscle through strength training increases the amount of calories your body burns. By burning more calories, it is easier to keep a healthy weight.

Dr. Wendy Warner, MD
OBGYN (Obstetrician & Gynecologist)

Obstetrician/gynecologist and functional medicine expert Dr. Wendy Warner discusses how much physical activity women should do during and after menopause. Watch Dr. Warner's video for tips and information on women's health.

An active lifestyle can lower your risk of early death from a variety of causes and help you maintain a healthy weight. It also might improve your mood and help you to sleep better. For older adults, activity can improve mental function. Health benefits are gained by doing the following each week:

  • 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity,
  • Or 1 hour and 15 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity,
  • Or a combination of moderate and vigorous aerobic activity, and
  • Muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days of the week

If you are not active, ask your doctor what's okay for you. Activity is important for everyone.

This answer is based on source information from the National Women's Health Information Center.

The key is to stick with an exercise program that you’ll enjoy doing long term. Overall, your long-term goal should be to work up to exercising at least two to three hours each week with at least 30 minutes of strength training each week.

It doesn’t mean that you have to all of a sudden step up the intensity of your workout. But you can still gradually ramp things up when your body and muscles are more accustomed and acclimated to exercise.

Start with buying an excellent pedometer (see 360-5.com) and build to walking 10,000 steps a day every day. Then add resistance exercises. You can do the YOU On A Diet workout as you use your body as your gym. Resistance exercises should always start 15 or more days before cardio to prevent injuries. If you are embarking on a cardio (heart-rate increasing to the place where you sweat) exercise program for the first time, start by getting an all-clear sign from your doctor. Pick an exercise you like doing and start small.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.