Updated: Aug 4
Menopause can be an incredibly challenging time for women, emotionally, physically and mentally.
Your ovaries start to slow down the production of estrogen and progesterone and eventually, they will stop making eggs. Menopause is officially said to have occurred 12 months after the last period. This usually happens around the age of 50, but menopause can occur as early as 45 and perimenopause before that.
While your body is changing and adapting to depleted hormones, you are also faced with a whole host of other symptoms.
Plus, until recently there has been a lack of information and knowledge about how to manage it all. Thankfully, high-profile women like Davina McCall, The Duchess of Cambridge and Mariella Frostrup have helped shine a light on what it's like living with menopause and how to manage it.
Exercise can be great for managing the symptoms of both perimenopause and menopause. But as things start to change, you may worry about what sort of exercise you can and should be doing.
Read on to find out how exercise can help you through perimenopause and menopause.
What are the symptoms of menopause?
There are multiple symptoms. However, menopause actually only refers to the period where your periods stop, but you could be having symptoms long before in a transitional period called perimenopause which could start years before actual menopause.
Menopause symptoms can last between 4-15 years after your last period.
The most common symptoms are:
Problems with memory
Loss of libido
But some longer-term implications can include:
Increased risk of Cardiovascular disease
Increased risk of Osteoporosis
Genitourinary syndrome of menopause
Reduced muscle mass
Increased prevalence of osteoarthritis
Slow bowel and bladder
During menopause the blood vessels, called capillaries in your muscle slow their growth. This is due to the disappearance of estrogen in the body. Since you need these for absorbing sugar and fat into the muscles, this can lead to type 2 diabetes.
Hormonal changes also affect the heart because oestrogen is involved in protecting arteries and preventing fatty plaque build up. When the oestrogen levels drop, your cholesterol can increase and put you at risk of cardiovascular disease.
In the five years following menopause, a woman’s bone density can decrease by 20%. You are more prone to hip, risk and vertebra fractures as well.
How can exercise help during perimenopause and menopause?
According to a study from the University of Copenhagen, “women benefit from being physically active prior to menopause, while their estrogen levels are high. It provides them with a better physical starting point as they enter menopause -- which is important.”
Keeping up your fitness and exercising regularly is really important at this stage in your life. This is because exercise can help with:
Improve your mood
Manage weight gain
Cope with hot flushes
Why Pilates is great for perimenopause and menopause?
Out of all the exercises, you can try, Pilates provides multiple benefits that will help support cardiovascular health, bone density, strength weight management and help improve your mood.
Pilates can improve your mobility
The hormonal changes you undergo through menopause can affect your muscles, making them weaker and tightening others. You could also be suffering from muscle imbalances and issues with posture.
Pilates exercises can all help to support your mobility, relax stiff exercises and improve your balance.
Check out this blog post for more information and Pilates mobility exercises for menopause.
Pilates can improve your strength
As we age, our muscle tendons become much more susceptible to injury due to reduced oestrogen, reduced collagen and injury.
Pilates is excellent for building up your core strength and muscles to help prevent injury. Strength is our number one priority for all our clients at All Active Pilates & Physio, but we have classes that will help specific needs and goals too.
Pilates is an excellent exercise for menopause because it tackles all the key issues and is preventative too:
Key benefits of pilates for menopause:
Pilates mat exercises can help develop a good posture to support your joints.
Load-bearing exercises will also help with increasing bone strength.
Pilates exercises also help improve flexibility and balance.
Pilates also helps to strengthen the core muscles weakened by menopause.
Pilates also focuses on breath work which is excellent for dealing with stress.
What Pilates exercises are good for menopause?
Here are a few strengthening exercises that can be beneficial during the menopause
One leg stretch to single leg deadlift
Swimming level 4
If you suffer from vaginal dryness or hot flushes, then take care to wear cotton underwear and moisture-wicking sports clothes. This will help you be much more comfortable during Pilates sessions.
Why not make Pilates part of your perimenopausal plan or help to manage your menopause. Give us a call and we will help guide you to the best plan to manage your symptoms.
At All Active Pilates & Physio, we offer Pilates, Reformer Pilates in Lisburn, Hillsborough and Dromore - as well as online. To find out more, just get in contact with us or email email@example.com.
Or if you’re ready to get started you can book your Pilates class now!