Menopause usually occurs when a women reaches her forties or fifties, and is often accompanied by a variety of different symptoms that occur due to fluctuating hormone levels. However, some experience menopause earlier, in their twenties or thirties. This can be either natural or caused by surgery, such as hysterectomy, or some types of cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy.
Symptoms during early menopause are often more severe than those during regular menopause. Stress can exasperate these symptoms, since hormones released when stressed can further destabilize already imbalanced estrogen levels. This is why it's important to try and relieve stress during early menopause.
Yoga is one of the best exercises that you can do to relieve stress. Yoga relaxes the mind as well as the body, so it's ideal to practice when addressing stress. Yoga can improve flexibility, better posture, breathing habits, and general fitness. This can help maintain equilibrium, lower stress levels, and balance other hormones in the body.
Running is a sure-fire stress reliever as you go through early menopause. Running can give you a sense of freedom and space to think. This can help calm you mentally, and relax your mind. Additionally, exercise in general causes the release of serotonin, which elevates mood and makes you feel good, which relieves stress. It can also help keep your body physically fit, which reduces the likelihood of menopausal symptoms occurring.
Team sports can be an effective way to combat stress. While running and yoga are focused on centering yourself and taking time for your mind, team sports can de-stress you in a different way. With all the previously discussed benefits of exercise, it also has a social component that many find compelling. If you are the type of person who enjoys and gains energy from social interaction, then this may be the best option for you.
There is nothing that relieves stress better than punching something. It's just viscerally satisfying. Many martial arts stress peace of mind, centering, and general mental health, in addition to physical activity. While there are more intensive martial arts, such as kickboxing, krav maga, or hapkido, there are also more laid back ones such as tai chi or aikido.
Regular exercise can be an effective way to give your mind and body a break, and to relieve the stress of early menopause. There are many changes that can be made to your lifestyle, and other treatments for early menopause you can consider, to address the stresses and symptoms.
- BMJ Group. "Menopause: What is it?" Patient Leaflet. 2007.
- Hopkins, Virginia. Lee, John R. M.D. What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Menopause. New York: Warner Books Inc., 1996.
- Love, Susan M.D. Menopause and Hormone Book. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2003.
- Martin, Raquel. The Estrogen Alternative. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 2000.