Perimenopause is the 12 consecutive months without a period, happens prior menopause. In this stage your hormones- estrogen begins to decrease and you can also start to experience the symptoms like mood swings, hot flushes, trouble sleeping, forgetfulness and irregular periods.  Exercise will be very vital during the this time says Michele Olson, PhD, professor of exercise science at Auburn University in Montgomery, AL. “When estrogen dips, belly fat accumulates, heart attack riskrises, bone loss occurs and muscle atrophy accelerates.”

We compiled the following moves to help tighten and tone common and major trouble spots and strengthen bones, muscles, joints and even your heart.   Add this to your regular exercise routine two to three times a week.

1. Best lower body exercise: Squats

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womenshealthmag.com

Squats not only improve the gluteal muscles but strengthens the entire lower body as well.

Stand with feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart. Keep your weight on your heels as you lower yourself toward the floor by bending at the hips and knees; push your glutes out as if you’re about to sit. Continue squatting, ideally, until your thighs are parallel to the floor or until your heels begin to lift off the floor. If you can’t do this right away, lower yourself as far as you can and keep your balance. Pause a second or two and then slowly rise back up, pushing through your heels. Repeat 15 times for two to three sets.

2. Best thigh exercise: Crab Walk

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Aside from the squats, crab walk tightens and tones the gluteal muscles and the outer thigh muscles , this also strengthens the hip joint.

Start with stepping inside a light to medium-resistance tubing circle with both feet, and fasten the tubing around each ankle. Stand with feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, slightly bent your knees, toes pointed straight ahead and hands on hips or out in front. Step out to the side and continue walking sideways. Keep walking out to one side 20 steps and repeat in the opposite direction.

 

3. Best upper body exercise: Push-ups

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Few women is having a hard time to do this, but with consistency, effort and determination, push-ups works the chest, shoulders and triceps muscles and help strengthen the wrists too.

Lie face down on the floor and bring hands out to your sides next to your chest, fingers pointed in front of you.  Come up onto the balls of your feet or knees if you need to modify the move. Keep your body in a straight line and abs engaged as you push yourself up. Lower and repeat as many times as you can, aiming for 15 reps. Do 2 to 3 sets.

 

4. Best triceps exercise: Dips

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This move helps tighten and tone the biceps.  Start by sitting on the edge of a sturdy chair or stair and place your hands behind you, palms down, fingers forward. Then, keep feet flat on the floor and knees at a 45-degree angle. Lift your upper body by straightening your arms and then lower your body until your upper arms are parallel to the step or floor, and then push back up.

 

5. Best core exercise: Planks

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This exercise engages the core muscles, which helps support your back as well as flatten your abs.

Lie on your stomach and prop yourself up on your forearms and the balls of your feet, elbows directly under your shoulders. Engage your abs as you raise your body off the ground until you’re in a straight line: shoulders, hips, knees and ankles should all align. Do not allow your hips to hike up or sag. Hold 20 to 60 seconds. Repeat.

 

6. Best abdominal exercise: Reverse Crunch

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Reverse crunch pulls in and helps tighten and tone lower abdominal muscles.  Lie on your back with your head an inch or two in front of a sturdy table leg or other stable object. Bend your knees and, while contracting your abdominals, pull your knees up toward your chest slowly, rolling up your spine; keep knees bent as you return to your starting position. Repeat without resting at the bottom.  This is effective when correct positioning is applied.

 

7. Run and Walk: Intervals

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runnersworld.com

Compared to moderate walking or jogging, alternating high-intensity cardio with less intense rest periods burns more belly fat and overall body fat. Interval training for three hours a week for two weeks was shown to improve fat burning, according to a study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology. In the study, women cycled for four minutes at high intensity followed by two minutes of rest intervals over an hour-long period.

Try this 20-minute program once or twice a week in addition to your long, slow workouts:

–      Walk 4 minutes
–      Jog/run 1 minute
–      Walk 2 minutes
–      Jog/run 1 ½ minutes
–      Walk 1 minute
–      Jog/run 2 minutes
–      Walk 2 minutes
–      Jog/run 1 ½ minutes
–      Walk 1 minute
–      Jog/run 2 minutes
–      Repeat if you like
–      End with a 2-minute steady walk and cool down

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