For Menopause Awareness Month, Chiara Becuti, Head of Pilates at FLY LDN reveals what exercise you should be doing during menopause
It is well known that menopause can be a shock to the system for women and have a huge impact on daily life.
However, there are various ways we can alleviate the symptoms of menopause, and having a well-planned out health and fitness regime is a great place to start.
Here are my top tips on how fitness can help lessen the effects of menopause…
Low-impact exercise will help you to avoid osteoporosis
Menopause means you’re more likely to be affected by osteoporosis – a condition that causes your bones to become weaker and prone to damage.
For this reason, low impact exercise is a good option. When you’re going through menopause, you naturally have less of the hormone oestrogen in your body, which is important for bone structure.
So, low impact exercises, such as yoga, Pilates, weights and barre, are great for protecting your bones and preventing long term damage.
yoga, Pilates, weights and barre, are great for protecting your bones
FLY LDN offer a fantastic selection of low impact classes (both in studio and online) that help to improve cardiovascular fitness, strength and mobility, without putting stress on the joints or muscles.
This being said, high impact exercises are not necessarily a no go, as different bodies have different capabilities.
However, it’s important to be mindful of focusing on training that doesn’t involve crazy jumps (which impact the joints), and anything where there is a high risk of falling.
Pilates will help to strengthen your bladder
A common symptom of menopause is bladder weakness, or incontinence in the most extreme cases, and Pilates is an amazing and popular form of exercise that strengthens the pelvic floor.
Reformer Pilates is especially effective in doing so, and if you’re craving a challenging workout that will push you out of your comfort zone, this is a great option.
You can still get your heart rate going without jumping or brusque movements, which can often feel uncomfortable – especially if you’re experiencing bladder weakness.
Pilates will help to improve your libido
Something women do not talk about enough is the decrease in sexual desire when going through menopause.
It is important to normalise natural changes that occur in the body during menopause, which cause a hormonal change, and sometimes lower libido.
normalise natural changes that occur in the body during menopause
We can therefore create awareness and reassure those going through menopause that this is totally normal and often expected.
The good news is that Pilates can do wonders for this, by teaching our bodies to activate and strengthen the pelvic floor, which is the key for improvement in pleasure.
Weight training for improved physical strength & weight management
Lifting weights is a great way to build your physical strength.
Muscles around joints tend to naturally weaken during menopause, therefore lifting weights is a fantastic way of strengthening these muscles and increasing muscle mass.
The hormonal changes of menopause might also make you more likely to gain weight around your midsection, and since weight training is also great for burning calories, which is optimal for weight management, it’s a great option for those looking to shift weight.
Yoga and meditation for a good night’s sleep
Another symptom of menopause is difficulty sleeping.
This is mainly due to progesterone decline, as progesterone has a sleep-inducing effect by acting on brain pathways. As well as this, during menopause women show an increase in sleep apnoea.
during menopause women show an increase in sleep apnoea
Yoga and meditation are great ways to relax the mind and body, and can give you a better chance of getting a good night’s sleep.
Yoga classes are known to have a calming effect on the body, which can help with insomnia, and meditation and breathwork classes have been praised for having a wonderful impact on fighting sleep apnoea.