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Reduce menopausal symptoms with specific exercise and nutrition




By Angela Kerrisk from Activate Fitness  

Menopause has three stages; perimenopause, menopause, and post-menopause. And did you know you can reduce a lot of your menopausal symptoms through specific exercise and nutrition?

Let’s start with menopause. This is that one date in time that marks 12 months of you having no period. The average age for this is usually around the age of 50/51 years.

Five to six years previous to this date, we know as perimenopause; the transition from the initial symptoms of menopause to your periods actually stopping. Early in this stage, you are unsure of what is going on. You will experience some of the usual menopausal symptoms like poor sleeping, fatigue, hot flashes, brain fog and night sweats. Things change, you start to lose muscle mass. You may notice your training and nutrition isn’t working for you, you may find that you are not adapting in your usual way or can’t reach the same times you might normally have achieved, you also might notice that you are putting on belly fat even though your nutrition hasn’t really changed much. The closer you get to your menopause date, the more intense these symptoms become.

So what is causing these symptoms?

The primary factor is hormonal. During this stage you will still have a period but you will experience more and more Anovulatory periods, this is when at ovulation you don’t release an egg. This means your body won’t have the stimulus to produce progesterone and this ratio imbalance between estrogen and progesterone is the start of issues.

These two hormones, estrogen and progesterone, have a direct effect on all of your body systems. Your body becomes more insulin resistant as you are less able to breakdown and store carbohydrates and put on more visceral fat. These changes can continue into post-menopause years, the biological state we find ourselves in for the rest of our lives and some women can experience hot flashes for 20 plus years, but these are mainly adipose tissue-related. The greater your body fat percentage, the more likely you will continue to experience hot flashes.

What can you do to help yourself?

Ideally, we want to address these changes before getting to post-menopause. The good news is that you can reduce a lot of these symptoms by working with your physiology to improve your fitness and enhance what these hormones used to do through exercise and nutrition.

When you lose that estrogen surge, you lose that stimulus to build muscle, so you need to find an outside stimulus and you can achieve this with a specific exercise routine that includes heavy lifting (don’t worry you won’t get bulky) and bursts of interval training, particularly those that involve jumping (called plyometrics) which can improve power.

With the changes of estrogen and progesterone, our body needs this exercise stress to make up for the responses these hormones used to stimulate.

So we used to have an anabolic stimulus from estrogen and now we don't have that anymore. This is why we need to lift heavy and do high-intensity work to get that same stimulus.
We tailor our nutrition around these sessions and the reason the timing of nutrition is important is after the strength training you want to really promote muscle protein synthesis and build that lean mass and maintain that muscle integrity.

It is important to note that we need both types of exercise to take over that anabolic stimulus that our natural estrogen used to promote, our ability to maintain fast-twitch fibre action (that is our power and speed) also takes a hit and the reason why it is important to include both.

So the good news is during this perimenopausal state we can prep ourselves for when we get to menopause. Along with including strength training and focusing on your nutrition, choose other physical activities that are enjoyable like walking, hiking and restorative practices like yoga, pilates, and breathwork. These steps will allow you to have a quality of life that includes, lean muscle mass, lower body fat, healthy performance potential (you will still be able to set new goals and achieve them) and all the other things that an active woman wants to have.

Although menopause can cause some noticeable and uncomfortable changes, these can be effectively managed.

So I challenge you, which way do you want to view and approach menopause?
I choose to believe it is something every woman will experience and go through.
So why not embrace this transition that puts us in a new stage of our lives,
Take control and approach it in a positive, powerful manner and become the healthiest, fittest, strongest version we can.

If you would like to know more about any of the above and how we can help you and customise a programme to your specific needs and goals, please contact me at


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KNOW YOUR RIGHTS: Help with Prescription Charges

If you need further information about any of the issues raised here or you have other questions, you can call a member of the local Citizens Information Service in Kerry on 0818 07 7860 or email on or log on to




There are some schemes available which assist with the cost of prescribed medications and appliances and the qualifying conditions for each scheme is different.

Q. Do I have to pay for prescriptions if I have a Medical Card?

A. If you have a Medical Card, there is a charge for prescribed medicines and other items that you get on prescription from pharmacies. The prescription charge is €1.50 for each item that is dispensed to you under the Medical Card scheme, up to a maximum of €15 per month per person or family. For people aged over 70, the prescription charge is €1 per item, up to a maximum of €10 per month per person or family.

Q. If I have a GP Visit Card does it cover prescription charges?

A. No. Prescribed drugs are not free but may be covered by the Drugs Payment Scheme.

Q. What is the Drug Payment Scheme?

A. Under the Drugs Payment Scheme, you and your family only have to pay a maximum of €80 each month for approved prescribed drugs and medicines, and certain appliances. After you register for the scheme, you will get a plastic swipe card for each person named on the registration form. You should show this card whenever you collect your medication or appliances from the pharmacy. The HSE Primary Care Reimbursement Service provides a list of medicines or aids provided under the Drugs Payment Scheme. You should use the same pharmacy in a month to avoid paying more than the maximum €80. You do not have to register with a pharmacy for the scheme.
You can apply for the Drugs Payment Scheme online at or by completing an application form which you can get from your local Citizens Information Centre or Local Health Office.

Q. What is the Long-Term Illness Scheme?

A. If you have a medical condition covered by the Long-Term Illness Scheme, you can get free drugs, medicines and medical and surgical appliances for the treatment of that condition. The qualifying conditions include Diabetes, Epilepsy, Parkinsonism and Multiple Sclerosis. You can get a full list of the conditions covered under this scheme from your local Citizens Information Service. You must be ordinarily resident in Ireland to qualify. This means that you are living here and intend to live here for at least one year. Students from outside the EU do not qualify for the Long-Term Illness Scheme. The Long-Term Illness Scheme does not depend on your income or other circumstances. You may also be eligible for a Medical Card or GP Visit Card, depending on your circumstances. Contact your local Citizens Information Centre for an application form or download it from

Q. Can you tell me about the Discretionary Hardship Scheme?

A. The HSE Primary Care Reimbursement Service (PSRS) provides a list of medicines or aids provided under the Medical Card or Drugs Payment Scheme. These products are approved for the schemes by the HSE. Some items that can be bought over the counter are not included in the free or subsidised schemes. If you have a Medical Card and are prescribed an item that is not on PCRS list, your pharmacist or Local Health Office can apply for it to be paid for by the Discretionary Hardship Scheme. If the hardship scheme does not cover the cost of the medicine and you have to pay for it, you may want to check with your doctor to see if there is an alternative medicine. You can get more information about the scheme from your pharmacist or Local Health Office.

Q. Is there any tax relief for medical expenses?

A. If you pay medical expenses that are not covered by the State or by private health insurance, you can claim tax back on some of those expenses, which includes tax relief on medical expenses for prescribed drugs and medicines. You can claim tax relief online using Revenue’s myAccount service.

If you need further information about any of the issues raised here or you have other questions, you can call a member of the local Citizens Information Service in Kerry on 0818 07 7860 or email on or log on to

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The ultimate Quest makes a welcome return to Killarney

Adventure race enthusiasts from around the country gathered in Killarney on Saturday for the much anticipated return of Quest Killarney. Last held in 2019, this year’s event attracted over 2,500 […]




Adventure race enthusiasts from around the country gathered in Killarney on Saturday for the much anticipated return of Quest Killarney.

Last held in 2019, this year’s event attracted over 2,500 participants who signed up to run, cycle and kayak their way around some of the most iconic scenery in the country.

Gap of Dunloe, Ladies View, Mangerton Mountain and Torc Waterfall were just some of the stunning locations along five routes of varying distances: 25km, 55km, 66km (run and cycle only), 75km, and 83km. The choice of routes allowed everyone from beginners to those with more experience to take part, as well as taking into account varying post-lockdown fitness levels!

Taking part this year were a couple of popular first-timers. Fresh from RTÉ’s Hell Week was Kerry’s own viral Instagrammer Tadgh Fleming who completed the 55k Sport Route. A fresh looking Tadgh said at the finish that Quest Killarney was, “Nothing like Hell Week, a bit harder I think! But really enjoyed it, I’d highly recommend it, going for the Pro next time!”

Incorporating Quest Killarney on her transformative weight loss journey was an elated Patricia Lewis (Trisha Transformations) who completed the 27km Challenge route, and had this to say as she crossed the finish line: “Anyone who’s thinking about doing it, don’t even hesitate, register now!”

Now on its tenth event, Quest Killarney, the world’s biggest adventure race, enjoys a growing reputation as a challenging race with a friendly atmosphere. It is also popular with visitors and participants alike as they are introduced to the stunning natural charm of Killarney’s glorious lakes and imposing mountains.

First home in the 83km Expert route was Niall Davis in a time of 04:17:55. In second place was Sebastien Giraud (04:32:47), and in third was Garry Carroll (04:34:24).
Kerry’s own Ellen Vitting (based in Kenmare) and RTÉ Hell Week finalist, was the first female home in 05:02:07. In second position was Laura O’Driscoll (05:18:43), in third position was Eimear O’Brien (05:27:13).

Overall male winner in the 73km Pro route was Dwayne Flynn (03:48:47) and overall female winner was Siobhan Dineen (04:08:37). Overall winners in the 55km ‘Sport’ route were Kevin McGuinness (02:13:08) in the men’s race and Orlaith Smith (02:34:45) in the women’s race. Winners of the 65km ‘Dual’ route were men’s race Liam Aherne (02:40:40) and women’s race Emer Monaghan (03:09:49). Winners of the 27km ‘Challenge’ route were Larry Stapleton for the men (01:13:27) and Niamh Hickey for the women (01:21:08).

Competitors were treated to hot food and music at the finish line, with prize-giving at The Gleneagle Hotel whose significant sponsorship and exceptional support continues to contribute to a positive day for everyone.

“We are thrilled that Quest Killarney has once again proven so popular with adventurers who are looking for a new challeng,” Oliver Kirwan, Race Organiser, said.

“Killarney itself is a great draw to visitors both from Kerry and further afield, introducing new people every year to its inspirational terrain. We are very much looking forward to preparing for 2023 as we encourage more people to discover their next adventure and put themselves to the Quest! We are grateful to everyone who gave us support and volunteered their time. We’d like to thank our main event sponsors Volvo and The Gleneagle Hotel, and also the contribution of our event partners All Real, Gnarly Peaks, Nuasan and MCG Kayaks.”

Organisers Elite Event Management are delighted to announce their event dates for 2023: Quest Kenmare on 11 March 2023, Quest Glendalough on 1 April 2023, Quest Lough Derg on 9 September 2023, and Quest Killarney on 7 October 2023.

For more information on next year’s events please visit


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