Fit 50

“Midlife and the Midriff”

Take a look in the mirror. An honest look. Chances are good you’ll see someone who isn’t just a “bit” overweight. And if you’re a woman “of a certain age”, being too heavy in midlife isn’t just a problem for your closet, it can kill you.

Obese?  Uh Oh”

A recent Gallup Survey finds more than one in four Americans struggles with obesity and, as we’ve all come to learn – some of us painfully – obesity is code for many bad things are about to happen. Too much weight can increase your risk of heart attack and stroke and for women it’s worse, with recent data revealing women between the ages of 45 and 54 have twice the stroke risk of men their age. Now, if you’re an overweight female and going through “the change”, you’re really setting yourself up: that extra weight isn’t only boosting your stroke risk it’s making Menopause miserable.

TS Campfire Flames


Menopause – the slow roasting from the inside out…

and the tossing and turning in bed night after sleepless night.  We are either living it or fearing it and obesity often brings Menopausal symptoms, like insomnia, and hot flashes, to a full boil, not to mention increasing the chance of urinary incontinence, depression, and seemingly irrational irritability.

So, what’s a woman to do? We know that exercise can improve heart health and now a new study in “The Journal of The North American Menopause Society,” finds even simple, mundane, daily activities may give you what you need to help get through Menopause.


“Housework and the hot flash”

Researchers affiliated with the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation or SWAN followed 52 women with hot flashes and night sweats. The women, white and African American, were between the ages of 54 and 63 years old. They wore sleep monitors and kept diaries detailing how well they were sleeping. The women also reported on their physical activity, which ran the gamut between light housekeeping and sports.

The results showed more movement meant better sleep and better sleep meant potentially fewer hot flashes, less fatigue, and tempered the feeling of wanting to rip someone’s—anyone’s—head off for looking at you funny.

A surprise finding for the non-athletic is that these positive effects were associated with household and caregiving – aka ‘routine’ – activity rather than sports or intentional exercise.

Researchers also found the most benefit came when women weren’t obese to begin with, which editors figure is a given.

“The Myth of Menopause”

Put the myth of that Menopause “middle” away and keep moving. Experts say women typically gain weight in their 40’s and 50’s, because their activity slows down, but not their appetite. Tweaks in diet and lifestyle can keep weight gain away.

Lifestyle changes include figuring out what you did with your gym shoes, putting them on, then walking the dog, mowing your own lawn, or washing your own car.

Making those changes during the Menopausal years may keep you from being a stroke statistic and, as this study suggests, help you get a better night’s sleep.


Read the SWAN study online at


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