Six ways to stay healthy after menopause

Samantha Wild
Clinical Lead for Women's Health and Bupa GP
14 October 2020
Next review due October 2023

Are you wondering how to maintain a healthy lifestyle for the post-menopause years? This is a natural stage in your life when you will not have had a period for at least a year. Here, I share six ways you can look after your body to stay healthy after menopause, and why they matter.

1. Keep your bones strong

Let’s start with bones! Our bone mass (how dense your bone is) starts to naturally decline from our forties onwards and may accelerate after reaching menopause. This, along with a drop in your level of oestrogen during and after the menopause, can increase your risk of osteoporosis (thinning of the bones). There are things you can do to help protect and strengthen your bone density. These include:

If you are worried about your bone mass, you may be able to have a density scan to measure bone strength.

2. Be active

Being physically active is one of the best ways of staying healthy after menopause and keeping your brain and body healthy into old age. It can also improve your feeling of wellbeing and mood.

If you are generally fit and have no health conditions that affect your mobility, aim to do at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity such as walking, golfing, swimming, or cycling every week. Or, to get the same benefits you could try 75 minutes of more intense aerobic activity such as aerobics, fast swimming, tennis or jogging.

Do these alongside strengthening exercises that work all the major muscles on at least two days a week.

3. Manage weight gain

Some people may gain weight after the menopause. This weight gain can be caused by your metabolism slowing down as you go through the menopause. You may also not be as active as when you were younger or have such a healthy diet. But, being overweight can increase your risk of health problems, including heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

If you’re overweight the best way to lose weight is to have a healthy, balanced diet, as well as being more active.

4. Sex after menopause

Knowing that you can’t get pregnant after the menopause can feel very liberating. But, if you’re having unprotected vaginal, anal or oral sex with new partners there is still a risk of getting a sexually transmitted infection (STI). After menopause, your vagina may be thinner and drier, which also can increase your risk of catching an STI during sex. Practice safer sex by using condoms to reduce your chances of catching or passing on STIs.

If you are in a new relationship you might also want to consider getting tested for STIs before having sex without a condom. If you think you have an STI, speak to your GP or visit a sexual health clinic as soon as possible.

5. Look after your sleep

Since the menopause you may be experiencing a poorer quality of sleep. Sleeping well is an essential part of looking after your health, both mentally and physically. As well as boosting your emotional wellbeing, it can help to lower your risk of developing high blood pressure, diabetes and coronary heart disease.

In general adults need about seven to nine hours each night. For lots of helpful tips and advice on how to improve your sleep, visit our information on how to get a good night’s sleep.

6. Focus on the positives

Reaching the menopause is a time of change for your body, and it’s easy to focus on what is lost. But, research shows that people who take an optimistic outlook in response to changes tend to deal with them better. This could be the start of a new and exciting chapter in your life when your mood settles, your memory improves again, and you feel more self-confident.

It also means you no longer have to worry about menstrual pain or heavy cycles.

If you’re struggling with menopause symptoms, or want to support someone who is, we’re here to help. There’s lots of information, expert advice and signposting on the menopause pages within our Women’s Health Hub, and you don’t need to be a Bupa customer to access any of it.

Samantha Wild
Dr Samantha Wild
Clinical Lead for Women's Health and Bupa GP

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