Menopause: Nutrition & Fitness

Menopause: Nutrition & Fitness

Donna Hayek, RD


This part of a woman’s life is not talked about very much since our mothers and grandmothers did not know much about it. Today, menopause is finally getting the recognition it deserves, as more women want to know how to approach this part of their life. 

The average lifespan of a woman is 81 years old. Between the ages of 40-58 (mean of age 52), women will transition into peri-menopause, then menopause.  Menopause is defined as 1 year without a period.  Estrogen is found in EVERY organ of a woman’s body.

The menstrual cycle is a rhythmic, predictable “conversation” among the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, ovaries and the uterus, where the hormones are the “language” used by these organs to communicate with one another. 

  • Pre-menopause is defined as a rhythmic and predictable hormonal pattern.
  • Peri-menopause is defined as a chaotic and unpredictable hormonal pattern.
  • Menopause is defined as a quiescent and a “new normal” hormonal pattern.


The eight aspects of the menopause transition are as follows:

  1. Reproduction: menstrual cycle changes
  2. Vasomotor: hot flashes
  3. Sleep: changes in sleep or appetite
  4. Anxiety & Depression: tap into self-care for relaxation (ie: massage)
  5. Urinary and Sexual Health: vaginal dryness & urinary incontinence
  6. Physical Functioning: decrease in lean muscle mass, increase in fat mass, loss of bone function (osteopenia or osteoporosis)
  7. Cognitive Performance: brain fog
  8. Less GI (gastrointestinal) Absorption: vitamin D, insulin resistance, high cholesterol and high blood pressure



  • Strength Training: heavy weight with less repetitions
  • Aerobic Training: HIIT, boot camp, jump rope, run, hike, row
  • Balance & Core Training: yoga, pilates
  • Longer Warm Up & Cool Down: 15-20 minutes for each
  • Moderate Aerobic: 150 minutes per week
  • Vigorous Aerobic: 75 minutes per week



  • Mediterranean Diet or DASH Diet: decrease sugar and processed food, increase fruits and vegetables, lean protein and whole foods
  • Recommended Vitamins & Minerals: calcium, vitamin D, magnesium, potassium and omega-3
  • Hydration: weight in kg = how many ounces of fluid per day
  • Increase Protein: at least 1.5 grams/kg/body weight