Home exercises for menopause – a routine you can do with minimal equipment to keep your body mobile, fit and strong through menopause and beyond.
This little program also get you working on balance, co-ordination, and impact exercises for bone density.
For menopause, alongside a plan such as this one, I’d highly recommend getting out to walk every day. Other cardio is great too if you enjoy it – any activity that gets your heart rate up is great for fitness and heart health. Interval training (an example would be short bursts of running or fast cycling, followed by a short rest, then repeat for 10-20 total minutes) is very beneficial 2-3 times per week.
Whatever cardio exercise you do, something that impacts your bones (such as hiking, running or dancing) will help protect bone density, so is great to include too.
It is very common to have days where your body aches, or your energy is low. But for both physical and mental health there are huge benefits to keeping moving – a short gentle walk outside can still make a real positive difference.
So, below you’ll find photos and instructions for each exercise in this .
This can be performed as a whole workout 2-3 times per week, or you can split it up into smaller sections and do a mini workout each day. Do what works for you – keeping active and training your body regularly is most important.
Mobility exercise – Kneeling Rotations
Areas worked – great stretch for hips, hamstrings, core, shoulders and chest
The upper back is known at the thoracic spine and is a key area to keep mobile. We easily become stiff here, often through years of bad posture, driving and working at desks. This stretch opens the body out and can help keep your shoulders and back healthy. It’s great for a warm up exercise, or just at any point in the day.
Key points: kneel down as pictured, with your same side hand on the inside of your forward foot.
Reach as far as you can under the front leg to feel a stretch, then turn and open out your body to point to the ceiling. Here you should feel a stretch in the side of your stomach, shoulder and chest. Repeat for 1 set of 10 reps on each side.
Areas worked – glutes (bum!)
The goal of this exercise is to wake up your glutes and feel them working (it’s easy to feel in lower back or legs if you don’t engage the correct muscles). Glutes are often a bit weak as a result of our sitting down lifestyle – keeping them active and strong can help reduce back and knee pain.
Key points: Lie on your back with knees bent. Push through your heels to lift up your hips, and give a big old clench of your butt cheeks at the top of the movement. Slowly lower down and repeat.
Aim for 3 sets of 10-15 reps.
Areas worked – legs, bum, core
Key points: start standing tall. Push your weight through your heels and push your bottom back to sink into a squat. Head and chest up, back straight, knees out over your toes (it’s common for them to cave in towards each other).
The aim here is to drop into a squat like you see in the photo – however I am blessed with good ankle mobility and plenty of practice, so don’t worry if you don’t get this low.
Take your time with each rep – slow and controlled on the way down, then push strongly through your heels to stand up. This will improve with practice, and once you find it comfortable, you can hold a weight under you chin to increase the challenge.
Aim for 3 sets of 10-15 reps.
Incline Push Ups
Areas worked – arms (triceps), shoulders, chest, core
Find somewhere in your house that’s around hip or waist height to start with. Kitchen worktop, dining room table , windowsill, arm of the sofa and staircase are all great options.
Key points: start with body and arms straight. Slowly bend your elbows, keeping your core tight so body remains straight throughout. At the bottom of the movement, push back strong through the arms. Aim for 3 sets of as many reps as you can with good technique.
The goal is to be able to build up to 3 sets of 12 reps. Once you can do this, find somewhere lower and build the reps up again from there. Do this long enough and eventually you’ll be on the floor 🙂
Seated Band Row
Areas worked – arms (biceps) and back
Key points: sit with the band hooked around your feet, and your back tall and straight. Hook fingers inside the band, and pull back towards your stomach. Think about ‘pulling with your elbows’ – this should help you feel the muscles in the mid section of your back. Squeeze those muscles as you pull the band back, then slowly return to start position and repeat. Aim for 3 sets of 8-12 reps.
As of writing this article, the band I usually recommend on amazon is here but more expensive than usual (£14 rather than £7) due to being in demand in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
An alternative on Argos website that’s better value (although you may need to check if it’s available in your area) is here.
Single leg deadlift
Areas worked – hamstrings, glutes, stabilising muscles in the ankles, core
Key points: start with finding your balance on one leg. Then, keeping your back straight, slowly tip your chest forward. Arms should be hanging under your shoulders, and your back leg outstretched behind you. It’s very common for hips to tilt to one side on this exercise – aim to keep them as level as possible. At the bottom of the movement, aim to use your glute muscle in your standing leg to bring you back up again. This exercise takes a lot of practice – patience is key!
Aim for 3 sets of 5-10 reps on each leg.
Areas worked – core
Key points: simple exercise, but very effective for keeping your core and back strong. Make sure elbows are under your shoulders, tummy muscles are tight, and glutes are engaged. The goal is to keep your body in a straight line with minimal sagging in your lower back – abs need stay strong and engaged to ensure this happens. Hold a good posture for as long as you can and record the time.
Aim for 3 sets of 30-60 seconds.
Step up and Balance
Areas worked – legs, bum, core
Balance is a skill. If you don’t use it – you lose it. If you keep training it, it will improve. One of the most common causes of requiring care in old age is due to injuries caused by falls. Train yourself to have good balance, and you could add many happy active years to your life.
Key points: the goal of this exercise is to get your top leg doing the work – we want minimal push off from the back leg. To start, place your weight in the heel of your top leg and engage the muscles in that leg. Slowly push up, keeping your knee over your toes, and aim to balance at the top. If you need to touch down – that’s ok. Slowly lower yourself back down and repeat for 10 reps, then switch sides.
Aim for 3 sets of 10 on each leg. Once you’ve mastered this, make the step higher, move to the next stair up, OR hold a dumbbell or kettlebell to increase the challenge.
Quickness Drill – Toe Taps
Similar to balance, quickness, agility and speed of movement are all skills that we need to keep practising. Toe taps are brilliant for foot speed, co-ordination, and impact training – which will strengthen bones and joints from your feet up to your hips and spine. They are also brilliant for cardio fitness (literally doing this for 30 seconds had me out of breath!) and they’re quite fun too J
If you don’t own a step, you can do these on the bottom of your stairs, use a book or even a cushion – the bouncing movement from one foot to the other is the key part. To do this exercise – keep on your toes, and tap the step one foot at a time, keeping nice and bouncy throughout. Aim for 3 – 5 sets of 20 seconds, and increase the time up to 40-60 seconds as you improve. A great alternative – skipping 🙂
Free Menopause Guide
I hope you found this helpful, and if you have any questions, feel free to send me an email anytime – email@example.com
I also have a freebie for you on the link below.
Nutrition and supplements to support your body through menopause, plus the workout above.
You can download it all on one PDF document to view anytime, via the link below: