Menopause & Exercise
Strength and conditioning in the menopausal years is so important for the female body. But why? Here at PROmotion we have recently been working hard on bringing you a new and exciting class, Women’s Strength. Liz Pavlovich, one of our Continence and Pelvic Health Physiotherapists recently launched this class with a booked-out information session about how women can navigate menopause with their best foot forward. Here in this article is a look at what we discussed and why we would like to see more women feeling empowered and supported to exercise for a healthy body and mind during menopause.
The ‘4 Champions’ to having a good transition through menopause include;
Movement is our medicine here at PROmotion. Movement during menopause in the form of both cardiovascular exercise and strength-based training is very important. They help control cortisol levels, our stress hormone. They maintain our heart health, bone health and assist us to keep that pesky belly fat under control. Exercise also helps us sleep well and maintain a healthy mind.
Nutrition is important through all ages. During menopause as our estrogen declines, our ability to metabolise calcium reduces thus exposes us to weakened bones; this can lead to osteopenia or osteoporosis. Calcium intake is therefore very important in menopause. This combined with vitamin D3 and vitamin K2 make an excellent healthy triad for our bones. Metabolism changes in menopause, thus focusing on good quality protein and low GI carbohydrates for satiety as well as fibre (hello healthy bowels) are both important. To round off our 3 important macronutrients, small amounts of quality fats such as almonds, oils and avocados are where we need to focus our intake during menopause.
Stress management during menopause is of great importance. This is often an age where children or aging parents begin to cause ‘bigger’ stressors in a females’ life. Cortisol, our stress hormone, is also harder for our system to regulate during menopause as it requires some estrogen to interact with it. Women are also more vulnerable to depressive symptoms in this period of their lives. Mood enhancement through lifestyle choices, exercise and food intake is very important for managing stress and maintaining a healthy mind.
Sleep may become illusive. Temperature regulation may become a big issue at night. Cotton pyjamas and bedding are good choices to aid with this. Ensuring the bedroom is well ventilated and possibly even having separate bedding to your partner may also assist with sleep. Good sleep hygiene also includes going to bed at a similar time each night and winding down with some relaxation or reading before bed.
Sexuality, pelvic health and bowel health are of utmost importance to our inner sense of wellbeing. As we age each persons’ thoughts and wishes for their sexual being are different; this is an area where a female can be supported by our Women’s Health team here at PROmotion. The urinary and digestive system are also a team which undergo changes during menopause due a change in collagen and hormonal profiles. We encourage you to come in and see us for an assessment if you have any signs of urinary leakage, bowel incontinence or constipation.
Liz Pavlovich, Women’s and Men’s Continence and Pelvic Health Physiotherapist, is providing this new service. If you would like to join the class, please call reception or book online to attend Women’s Strength on a Wednesday at 10am during school terms. Liz prefers to have an appointment with all new clients to this class, this can be booked by calling our reception team and requesting a ‘Women’s Strength Assessment’. To book click here or call 9284 4405.