Could it really be possible that movement could help to ease your symptoms of menopause? YES! It can have a huge impact on some of the more negative symptoms you might be experiencing, here’s how…
A recent quote from my Core Group “I wish I looked the way I did 2 years ago with less around my middle”
The drop in oestrogen that we experience during menopause can have a direct impact on the bodies metabolism (our ability to burn energy). Evidence also suggests that this hormonal drop is responsible for a year-on-year reduction in muscle mass from roughly aged 40. As muscle is responsible for burning a huge proportion of our calories (even at rest), you can see how weight gain is possible.
Exercise can help to burn energy but building and maintaining lean muscle through strength training and body weight exercise is vitally important. Running / walking / cycling is no longer enough if you’re female and over 40, it’s great for the cardiovascular system and for headspace but to combat the weight gain and protect our bones we need to load the muscles – pilates is perfect, naturally!
Osteoporosis / bone health
Hormonal changes can impact on the strength levels of your actual bones, your skeleton. From age 40, bone density decreases leading to joint pain, an increased risk of breaks and fractures and possibly osteoporosis.
Body weight and strength work will help not only reduce the speed of bone loss but also help to build new bone! Isn’t the body amazing!?
Stress and anxiety can be completely debilitating and sometimes getting to the mat can seem like Everest. In this case I would suggest small, achievable goals – aim for 5 minutes movement once a week initially. Start small and succeed. Set yourself up for success! Over time, this routine will feel easier and your sessions may become longer or more regular. Success is the key component to making consistency possible.
Pilates or other weight bearing exercise is great for anxiety because of the focus required, I’ve been told many times by members how Pilates helps their mind because of the break it gives them, headspace and focus. But I’m also a massive advocate for getting outside for a walk – in all weathers – feel the elements – breathe deeply – it can be game-changing for clearing the head, resetting and feeling less overwhelmed.
Sleep can be a real problem in menopause with joint pain, anxiety and restless legs all being contributing factors. Exercise has been shown to improve the quality of sleep by reducing stress, helping to lower blood pressure, improving circulation and increasing fatigue. Some reports suggest that in menopause it’s best not to exercise too near to bedtime because of the stimulation, something to bear in mind and maybe incorporate a more restorative session for late in the day.
A decrease in oestrogen can mean an increase in inflammation in the joints, and combined with lower levels of collagen, joint pain can be prominent in menopause. Movement is the most effective way to lubricate your joints, making movement a pretty effective solution!
Joint pain can also be effected by tightness in the muscles, as they cross the joints they can restrict the movement, making you feel immobile and tight. This can also lead to pain, making mobility and flexibility work a great option to incorporate into your week.
Of course there are a million “solutions” to the symptoms you are experiencing, and not all of them will involve exercise. HRT, diet and more holistic solutions can be incredibly effective, I would always advise that you do your own research or join a group of women who can guide you with expertise and experience.
If you’re looking for somewhere to start do try my “MindBodyMeno” group that is growing daily and full of women just like you looking for solutions. I have a selection of experts lined up over the coming months to help with any questions you might have, click here to be a part of the community.
Or, if pilates is something you’d like to try, head to my timetable and join me for a free trial session.