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Exercise regimes determined by hormonal status

Can exercise be personalised in connection with our hormones - especially when it comes to managing menopause?

Hormones have been a hot topic in wellness this year, from the debate around menopause leave and workplace policies to HRT alternatives. But if diets can be designed by blood type can exercise regimes be determined by hormonal status?

The Global Wellness Institute's (GWI) Hormonal Wellness Initiative and their 2023 trends said:

"Personalised hormonal medicine will come to the gym, where individualised health and wellness programs are changing how we approach exercise."

It's not the only area of holistic wellness that seeks to help women address menopausal symptoms in particular. They have also noted the rise in hormone balancing foods as diet is increasingly used to support wellbeing, and our understanding of the circadian rhythm is used to help menopausal sleep disturbance. The practice isn't just for menopause however, the GWI wrote:

"Sleep and menopause are interlinked; many menopausal and perimenopausal women report sleep disturbances. 2023 will see the inclusion of circadian rhythm science alongside menopause therapies and medicines, leading to improved sleep for all genders."

The idea that exercise can be used to support hormonal wellbeing is not new, but as we collectively we are paying more attention and making more space for evidence-based holistic wellbeing. Studies reported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) AND Oxford Academic alone explore the impact and relevance of exercise on hormone regulation as we age.

Top line information speaks to the impact of exercise on the body's stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol, although it's generally believed that test groups to date have been too small to make major claims regarding the wider management of hormones with exercise.

However, working the other way around, more and more places are using hormonal status to customise workouts. For example, scaling strength training or aerobic training according to different age groups and hormone statuses can be beneficial. One study wrote:

"The finding of our study shows that 12 weeks of anaerobic exercise training based on the ACSM FITT protocol is found to be effective in the improvement of estradiol level and BMD in postmenopausal osteoporotic female. Moreover, it was also concluded that anaerobic exercise is associated with increasing the lean mass, whereas aerobic exercise plays a key role in reducing the fat mass; hence, we concluded that quality of life of postmenopausal osteoporotic female can be improved by anaerobic exercise program of 12 weeks."

Read about the spa expert taking on the menopause

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