No energy during menopause? Expert tips to revitalise your body and mind 

Energy levels can take a dip during menopause. Our simple but effective tips show you how to beat the slump.

Having low energy levels is hard enough, but dealing with no energy during menopause hits differently. Aching joints, a feeling of lethargy, disturbed sleep and low mood can all contribute to an energy slump. This vitality dip might come and go, it might last for a long time, or it might seem to deliberately arrive when you have a million things to do.  

Menopause is different for everybody, and your experience will be unique to you. Some women have few or no symptoms, while others experience a range of issues. If low energy is an issue for you, we have some expert tips on how to increase energy and lift your mood.  

Group of women in gym laughingCredit: Shutterstock / PeopleImages.com – Yuri A

What causes low energy in menopause?

Menopause expert and fitness instructor Meera Bhogal explains:  

Lack of energy is one of the symptoms of menopause because our oestrogen levels drop,” she explains. We need oestrogen at a cellular level to create energy, so you’re always going to have that (lack of oestrogen) as a backdrop to any activity (during perimenopause).

In postmenopausal women and in men, who have little oestrogen circulating in the blood, oestrogen is made by the body from other hormones called androgens. 

Added to this fundamental hormone change, other menopause symptoms can also exacerbate tiredness, contributing to a lack of energy throughout the day and low mood.  

If you’re not sleeping well, or you’re having night sweats, you can end up in this cycle of exhaustion,” Bhogal says. Another symptom is weight gain. A lot of women feel they’re eating the right things and doing the right things, but the weight isn’t shifting. So, what they tend to do is start to reduce the amount they eat, cutting out things like fats, or cutting down calories to a point where that then has a negative impact on their energy.” 

If that all sounds a bit doom and gloom, don’t be disheartened. Menopause can (and should) be a positive period of transition, and it might also be a chance for you to reassess your lifestyle and make some fundamental changes.  

You dont need to have a drastic lifestyle overhaul, either. Just a few tweaks or additions here and there can really make a difference to your energy levels in menopause.  

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Tips to improve energy levels

Whether you’re going through perimenopause or are now post-menopausal, the following suggestions can add pep to your step, naturally boosting energy when you need it.  

Aim for a balanced diet

Nourishing your body during perimenopause is important. As oestrogen levels decline, our metabolism slows, meaning we store more fat on our bodies, particularly around the middle. It can be tempting to drastically reduce calorie intake to lose weight, but it’s better to focus on eating the right foods to reap the benefits of healthy eating, Bhogal explains. 

I work with women to understand what their calorie intake is, but also to make sure they’re getting the right amount of protein, fat, and fibre,” People don’t usually have an issue getting carbohydrates into their diet, but it’s more about focusing on getting protein, fibre, fat and carbohydrates from whole food sources. 

“So, every meal time we need to make sure we’re having a really good half plate of green leafy vegetables, and cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, spinach and salad. Then the other half of the plate should be made up of two-thirds protein and a third carbohydrates in the form of rice or grains, or whatever you choose to have.” 

Close up of salad bowlsCredit: Shutterstock / mangostar

Refined sugar can also cause issues with energy levels, giving us that dreaded mid-afternoon slump, as Saga Exceptional’s nutrition expert, Gemma Harris, explains: While sugar is a source of energy, consuming too much refined sugar can make you feel fatigued. This is because it can cause an initial energy boost that lasts between 30 and 60 minutes, followed by a slump in energy that can leave you feeling tired. While this is what makes sugar addictive, cutting back on refined sugar can help to stabilise your energy levels.  

“Also be mindful of what we classify as good sugars,” Bhogal adds. “Things like honey and fruit can sometimes start to creep into our diet in a big way. I say try and stick to 80% vegetables and 20% fruit.” 

Stay hydrated

Have you ever had coffee to try and boost energy levels? And have you ever hit a wall, so you had more coffee, and then some more? You’re not alone. Coffee does give us a caffeine boost (unless you’re going for decaf), but too much coffee can cause you to sleep badly, and if you’re already suffering with disturbed sleep from night sweats, the problem only gets worse. In turn, this leads to low energy levels the next day.  

Alcohol can also cause disturbed sleep issues and is often high in sugar, which are both “really detrimental to helping us cope and manage with fatigue and tiredness”, says Bhogal. 

When it comes to hydration, water is always a good choice. It helps improve cognitive function, reduces headaches and prevents urinary tract infections – issues some women may face in menopause. It can also boost energy levels, as Harris explains:  

“Adequate hydration is important for boosting energy levels, because a lack of fluids can reduce your blood volume, meaning your heart must work harder to pump oxygen around your body. In turn, this expended energy can leave you feeling tired and sluggish. You may already be feeling fatigued during menopause and losing fluid through sweating because of hot flushes, so this makes staying hydrated even more important.” 

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Vitamins and minerals

We can get a lot of the vitamins and minerals we need from eating a balanced diet, as detailed above. During menopause some of us may benefit from taking a daily multivitamin or specific supplements, to make sure all bases are covered.  

Vitamin D is really important,” Bhogal says. We know we’re not able to absorb as much of it as we possibly need through diet.” Vitamin D helps us absorb calcium, which is crucial for menopausal women as we are at a higher risk of developing osteoporosis, so keeping our bones strong is important. Our bodies make Vitamin D from sunlight, so getting outside in daylight is a great way to top up levels, and from October to March, it’s a good idea to take a supplement 

Zinc and magnesium are really good for us and easy to get from nuts and seeds,” Bhogal says. They help with recovery and a lot of the functions that we need in order to create energy to make us feel stronger and better.” 

Woman taking vitaminsCredit: Shutterstock / Miljan Zivkovic

Magnesium can also help prevent osteoperosis, and may also help relieve anxiety and improve sleep. Zinc is a trace mineral, meaning we don’t need a lot of it, but it does play an important role in the body. Its immunity boosting properties also help protect against inflammation, keeping us healthy and therefore supporting energy levels.  

Collagen is also key,” Bhogal adds. It’s the most abundant protein in the body; I describe it as the glue that holds us together. It’s in your ligaments and your bones. It’s in your eyes, skin, hair, and your arteries. So, it’s super important. The amount we can make reduces from about the age of 30 onwards, so again it is something that people may need to supplement, or at least make sure they’re having lots of zinc and vitamin C through diet, which can help to increase our production.” 

Movement

Exercise in menopause is important for many reasons. It can help alleviate many symptoms but also prevent health conditions that may affect us as we age, such as osteoporosis, type 2 diabetes, and more. It can be hard to find motivation to move your body if your joints are aching and you have low energy, but far from making you tired, exercise will boost your mood and energy, and may also help you sleep better. Small changes can have a big impact, as Bhogal explains.  

It’s literally about small things. Adding a little bit more movement around your daily life is very important. One thing the women I work with find really surprising is that, once they start to exercise in the right way and move in a way that works for their body, they start to feel more energised. So, it can help to add movement when you’re putting the shopping away, or add in resistance training, such as stand up, sit down squats on a sofa, or using water bottles at home for resistance work. 

Pilates provides a great way of exercising,” she continues. It helps core strength, balance and stability, and can improve pelvic floor function. Depending on the type of Pilates, it can provide some strength training, but often it isn’t enough.  

Strength training is an important form of exercise – in fact, there is no substitute for it. It reduces the risk of osteoporosis quite dramatically, and that’s super important. Strength training creates pressure inside our bones to make them produce more bone cells, so we create stronger bones rather than weaker bones.” 

If you’d like to try strength training in a gym, why not follow our beginner’s gym workouts.  

Mindfulness

Life can be busy, and overwhelm can often lead to a lack of energy. One way to combat this can be to spend some time reconnecting with yourself and tuning into your thoughts and feelings.  

Get outside and go for a walk,” Bhogal suggests. Spend some time outside, getting away from the noise and the hustle and bustle of every day. Listen to a podcast or just listen to nature and enjoy being away from everyday stress and noise. It helps you to feel energised but also gets you moving. 

Mindfulness and yoga both help to reduce cortisol levels. Having high stress and cortisol levels can actually have an impact on how well our body produces the oestrogen we do have, and how well it copes with menopause. So again, spending time doing a little mindfulness breath work or yoga if you enjoy that, is helping towards rebuilding those energy levels, so you feel recharged and revitalised but calm.”  

Woman meditating at homeCredit: Shutterstock / Sabrina Bracher

If you enjoy listening to podcasts, some great menopause-related ones to choose from include The Mid-Point with Gabby Logan, Postcards from Midlife with Trish and Lorraine, and Meeras Menopause Podcast with Meera Bhogal 

Better sleep

A lack of sleep, or disturbed sleep, can really have an effect on our energy levels,” Bhogal says. You’re not going to feel like exercising, or eating the right foods, because you’re tired and hungry. So, when you’re feeling like that and you’ve had one of those terrible nights, stepping outside and making yourself go for a walk really helps. Even if it’s just two minutes, once you get out, you then start to enjoy it. That can really have a positive impact on your mental health.” 

Saga Exceptional’s sleep expert, Rebecca Frew, adds: “An increase in nighttime wakening is a common issue when you’re going through menopause.   

“Practising sleep hygiene habits, including getting some fresh air during the day and keeping your bedroom cool – aim for an optimal temperature in the region of 16-18C (61-64F) – can help promote quality rest.   

If you’re having night sweats, psychologist and neuroscientist Dr Lindsay Browning, suggests the following:   

  • sleep on a towel
  • keep a spare change of bed clothes handy 
  • use a water misting spray  
  • ensure your bedding is made of natural fibers (not polyester)  
  • use a separate (lighter) duvet if you share a bed 

 Melatonin is important,” Bhogal adds. Our bodies know the difference between inside and outside light. Even spending a little bit of time outside helps to raise melatonin levels and get that rhythm back into your life.”  

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Becky Fuller

Written by Becky Fuller she/her

Updated:

Becky Fuller is a fully qualified Personal Trainer, specialising in strength and conditioning for over 50s. Becky’s focus is helping people to become stronger both in body and mind, and to move well without pain. Becky also has many years’ experience working as a freelance journalist, writing for a wide variety of publications such as Screen Rant, Geek Feed, and Daily Actor. She also regularly reviews theatre productions for UKTW.

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