4 Exercises to Avoid During Menopause for Better Health

Last updated 06.26.2024 | by Sabrina Johnson | 8 Minutes Read

This article has been reviewed and fact checked by Dr. Karen Pike, a senior physician administrator and board-certified emergency room doctor actively working in northern California. Read more at our medical disclaimer page.

You will be surprised to know that approximately 1.3 million women reach menopause each year in the United States alone [1]. As women navigate through this natural phase of menopause, their bodies undergo significant changes. 

In this transitional period, we experience hormonal shifts that impact our health and well-being in various ways.

Exercise is universally considered beneficial for menopause, but not all exercises are the same. Some exercises are not so suitable during menopause.

Understanding which exercises to embrace and which to approach with caution can make a world of difference in your journey to maintaining optimal health and vitality.

As someone who likes to work out, I have done my research on exercises to avoid during menopause. 

Join me as I explore the 4 exercises to avoid during menopause. I will also discuss the benefits of exercise and why some exercises are better to avoid during this stage.

Let’s work toward smarter and more supportive choices for this transformative phase of life.

The Benefits of Exercise During Menopause

All women in their perimenopause and menopause stages must be dealing with hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, insomnia, etc. I know it’s a tough phase of life. 

However, let me tell you, exercise can be a powerful ally during this transition! 

If you think it’s just about fitting into your favorite jeans (although that’s a perk!), you are wrong. It’s more about taking charge of your health and feeling your best from the inside out.

Let’s know some of the benefits of exercise during menopause:

Weight Management

During menopause, our bodies tend to become more efficient at storing fat, particularly around the belly. Annoying, right?

This can lead to weight gain, and studies show that even a modest increase in weight can significantly impact our health. According to research, it is found that women during menopause accumulate more belly fat, which leads to many severe diseases [2].

Regular physical activity helps us burn calories and can prevent unwanted weight gain. 

From the moment I started incorporating daily walks and dance fitness classes into my routine, I’ve noticed a difference not just in the numbers but in how my clothes fit and how much more energy I have throughout the day.

Building Strong Bones

One of the biggest concerns during menopause is bone loss. Our estrogen levels decline, which weakens our bones and increases the risk of osteoporosis. This is especially worrisome since fractures can be debilitating. 

According to the research conducted, 1 in 3 women over the age of 50 will experience a fracture due to osteoporosis [3].

Strength training is beneficial for bone health. Exercises that target major muscle groups, like weightlifting, squats, and lunges, can stimulate bone growth and keep them strong.

Heart Health

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women and the risk increases after menopause. 

Exercise is a fantastic way to protect our hearts. Regular physical activity strengthens our heart muscle, improves blood flow, and lowers bad cholesterol levels.

A study published stated that exercise significantly reduced the risk of heart disease in postmenopausal women [4]. 

I remember getting extremely tired after climbing the stairs a few years back. Now, after incorporating regular walks and swimming into my routine, I can climb those stairs without breaking a sweat.

Mood Enhancement

Menopause can bring a plethora of emotions. Feeling stressed, anxious, or even down is quite common. But there’s a solution, of course!

Exercise is a natural mood booster! When we get moving, our bodies release endorphins, those feel-good chemicals that have mood-lifting and stress-reducing effects.

I can personally vouch for this. There have been days when I’ve started a workout feeling down, but by the end, I feel energized, and my worries seem to melt away. It’s like a natural stress reliever!

Better Sleep

Sleep disturbances are another common complaint during menopause. This problem can also be tackled with a workout routine. 

Exercise can help you drift off to dreamland faster and sleep more soundly.

After a good workout, you’ll find yourself falling asleep more easily and waking up feeling refreshed. It’s like hitting the reset button for a better night’s sleep.

Why Some Exercises Might Need Caution During Menopause

Our bodies change during this phase, so some of your beloved pre-menopause exercises might not feel quite as friendly anymore. 

It’s not about giving up exercise entirely; it’s about adjusting our routines to listen to our bodies and minimize risks.

During menopause, our estrogen levels fluctuate. This hormonal shift affects everything from our energy levels to our bone density. One of the most significant ways it impacts exercise is by weakening the connective tissues that support our joints. 

Another concern during menopause is an increased risk of falls. This can be due to several factors, including decreased balance and coordination, as well as weakened bones. 

This doesn’t mean you have to give up. It just means you might need to swap out high-risk activities like gymnastics or horseback riding for exercises that promote balance, like yoga or tai chi. 

The pelvic floor is a group of muscles that support the bladder, uterus, and rectum. During menopause, due to hormonal changes, these muscles can weaken, leading to issues like incontinence. 

Certain exercises, especially heavy weightlifting with improper form or certain ab exercises, can put additional strain on the pelvic floor.

However, there are ways to exercise safely while strengthening these crucial muscles.

4 Exercises to Approach with Caution During Menopause

Menopause is a time to acknowledge our body’s changing needs. Certain exercises that were once our go-tos might now require a bit more caution.

Some exercises to approach with care or better to avoid during menopause are:

High-Impact Exercises

We all know the benefits of high-impact exercises like running or jumping jacks. They help in building cardiovascular health and burn calories. But during menopause, these activities can be risky.

High-impact activities put a lot of stress on joints, increasing our risk of injuries. I used to be a dedicated runner, but the constant pounding on my knees just wasn’t tolerable anymore. It was a tough goodbye, but I found that switching to swimming offered a fantastic low-impact cardio workout without the risk of injury.

Low Impact Alternatives: Swimming, Elliptical Training, Brisk Walking, Cycling.

Heavy Weightlifting

Strength training is crucial during menopause to combat bone loss and maintain muscle mass. However, heavy weightlifting can be a double-edged sword.

Improper lifting techniques with heavy weights can put a strain on your joints and increase the risk of injuries.

Remember, with menopause comes a decrease in muscle strength. Lifting weights that were once manageable might now feel overwhelming. 

Effective Alternatives: Bodyweight exercises like squats, lunges, and planks. Opt for lighter weights with more repetitions to target the same muscle groups safely.

Activities with a High Fall Risk

During menopause, our balance can become a bit wobbly due to hormonal changes. This makes activities with a high fall risk, like gymnastics, particularly dangerous.

I know it’s tempting to unleash our inner child with some cartwheels! But the risk of a fall is just too high. Luckily, there are plenty of other ways to improve our balance and coordination.

 Effective Alternatives: Yoga, Tai Chi, Walking with Hand Weights.

Exercises that Strain the Pelvic Floor

During menopause, pelvic floor muscles can weaken. It is found that the prevalence of urinary incontinence increases significantly in postmenopausal women.

Certain exercises, like heavy weightlifting with improper form or some exercises that strain the core, can put additional strain on the already weakened pelvic floor.

Effective Alternative: Kegel exercises are a fantastic way to target and strengthen these muscles without putting additional strain on them.


Do I have to give up all my favorite exercises during menopause?

Absolutely not! While some exercises might need a slight modification or might not be the best fit anymore, there are plenty of alternatives that can keep you moving and feeling your best.

Why do certain exercises become riskier during menopause?

Menopause brings hormonal changes that affect our bodies in various ways. Some significant changes include a decrease in estrogen levels and bone density, which can weaken connective tissues, leading to risks of joint injuries and high falls.

What if I hate the gym? Are there ways to stay active outside the gym during menopause?

Yes, there are various exercises you can do at home, outdoors, or even with friends. From bodyweight exercises to dance fitness classes, there are plenty of ways to keep moving and enjoy your workout routine during menopause.


Menopause doesn’t have to be the end of your exercise days! I hope this article has helped you understand the benefits of exercising, which ones to avoid, and why.  

Remember, your health is your greatest asset, so let’s move smarter, not harder, and fight this next chapter together!


  • Sabrina Johnson

    Meet Sabrina Johnson, a compassionate author and a seasoned expert in Obstetrics and Gynecology. She is a driving force behind Simply Menopause, where her extensive medical knowledge and empathetic nature come together to empower women in their menopausal journey. Sabrina offers culturally sensitive guidance and support through her approachable writing, making her a trusted friend on the path to menopause wellness.

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