After menopause, the risk of osteoporosis and weight gain increases but strength training can help keep your bones strong and the weight off.
In this blog post, we will explore why Pilates is a fantastic exercise option for women going through menopause and perimenopause.
Plus, there's there are some Pilates strength exercises you can do on your own to build up your strength.
Why do you need to do strength exercises during menopause?
Any form of physical exercise is great for managing perimenopausal and menopausal symptoms. But strengthening exercises can benefit you in multiple ways.
Firstly, strength exercises help counteract the natural decline in muscle mass and strength that occurs with age and hormonal changes. This can improve overall functional ability and prevent muscle weakness and loss of mobility.
Secondly, as your oestrogen levels decline, your risk of osteoporosis increases. Osteoporosis is a medical condition where you have weakened and brittle bones, resulting in an increased risk of fractures.
Strengthening exercises can help guard against osteoporosis. Using weight-bearing movements and resistance training, strength training can promote bone density and strengthen the musculoskeletal system.
Strength training can also boost your metabolism. This can help you to manage weight and combat the tendency to gain weight around the waist during menopause.
Strength training can also improve mood and reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety commonly associated with hormonal changes. Even better, if you can do strength training in a group!
Flexibility & Stability
Furthermore, strength exercises enhance joint stability and flexibility, reducing the risk of joint pain and stiffness that can accompany menopause-related hormonal shifts.
Overall, incorporating strength exercises into a menopausal fitness routine can have a positive impact on physical health, bone density, weight management, mental well-being, and overall quality of life.
What types of Pilates strength exercises are good for menopause?
Below are some of the best Pilates strength exercises that you can do at home, without the need for weights or specialist equipment.
Squat exercises in Pilates are a fantastic way to strengthen the lower body, particularly the glutes, quads, and hamstrings while promoting improved mobility and stability. By focusing on proper alignment and controlled movement, Pilates squats help develop functional strength, enhance posture, and support overall lower body function.
Reverse lunge exercises in Pilates are effective for targeting the glutes, quadriceps, and hamstrings. These exercises will also help work on your balance and stability. By stepping back into a lunge position and engaging the core, these exercises strengthen the lower body, improve mobility, and contribute to overall functional fitness.
One Leg Stretch to Single Led Deadlift
One-leg stretch to single-leg deadlift exercises in Pilates are dynamic movements that target the core, glutes, hamstrings, and balance. By alternating between the one-leg stretch, which engages the abdominal muscles, and the single-leg deadlift, which challenges stability and strength, these exercises enhance core stability, improve lower body strength, and enhance overall body control.
Push-ups on your knees in Pilates are a modified version of the traditional push-up exercise, allowing for increased accessibility and gradual progression. By performing push-ups on your knees, you can effectively strengthen the chest, shoulders, and arms while maintaining proper alignment and engaging the core, making it an excellent option for building upper body strength and stability.
Leg pull prone prep
Leg pull prone prep in Pilates is an exercise that targets the deep core muscles and shoulder stability muscles along with the glutes, hamstrings, and back muscles. By lifting one leg off the ground while maintaining a stable and engaged core, this exercise activates the hamstrings and strengthens the back muscles, and enhances overall lower body strength and stability.
The Superman exercise in Pilates is a beneficial movement for menopause as it targets the back extensor muscles, which can often weaken during this phase. By lifting both the arms and legs off the mat simultaneously, this exercise helps strengthen the back, improve posture, and support overall spinal health during menopause.
Top tips to remember during these strength exercises
Listen to your body
Each person's flexibility and range of motion may vary, so it's essential to honour your body's limits and not push beyond what feels comfortable. Gradually increase the depth of the movements over time.
Deep breathing helps relax the muscles and encourages the release of tension. Inhale deeply through your nose, expand your ribcage, and exhale fully through your mouth, allowing any tightness to melt away. When you're concentrating on new exercises you can often forget to breathe! So just take care and remember to breathe.
Maintain proper alignment
Avoid excessive arching or rounding of the lower back.
Find out more about how Pilates can help with menopause symptoms in our other blog post.
Looking to take a Pilates class?
Take your first step towards preventing injury, staying strong and mobile with Physio-led Pilates online.
We offer weekly live online Pilates classes on Monday at 10am.
You can also sign up for our online video channel of 140+ prerecorded classes that you can do in your own time. You can take as many pre-recorded classes as you like, using any device. To sign up, just head to our online booking form.