Penny Lancaster went to see a GP to help with the menopause
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Menopause normally occurs between the ages of 45 and 55, and one in four women experiencing menopause is concerned about their ability to cope with life. While hormone replacement therapy is the go-to treatment for menopause, lifestyle changes such as exercising more will really help to reduce the severity of symptoms. Express.co.uk chatted to the Head of Pilates at FLY LDN, Chiara Becuti to find out the four best types of exercise to minimise menopause symptoms.
According to the NHS, taking regular exercise and losing weight if you’re overweight is one of the best ways to manage hot flushes and night sweats, mood changes, and weak bones associated with menopause.
While exercise might feel like the last thing you want to do, it is an affordable and natural way to treat the unpleasant symptoms of menopause.
Fitness expert Chiara Becuti from FLY LDN said: “Menopause can be a shock to the system and have a huge impact on daily life, but there are various ways we can alleviate the symptoms of menopause
“Having a well-planned out health and fitness regime is a great place to start.”
Not sure what kind of exercise will target your symptoms and concerns linked to menopause? Here are the four types of exercises that are particularly beneficial for menopausal women.
Women who have been through menopause are at an increased risk of osteoporosis.
This is because you have a lower level of oestrogen in your body, weakening your bones and making them more likely to break.
Low impact exercise is the best form of exercise for weaker bones that are more prone to damage, according to Pilates expert Chiara.
She said: “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 and Pilates classes or specific low impact classes such as those offered at FLY LDN (both in-studio and online) will 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.”
A common symptom of menopause is bladder weakness or incontinence in the most extreme cases.
You may even find that you’re experiencing recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs) since you’ve gone through the hormonal changes responsible for menopause.
Pilates is an amazing and popular form of exercise that strengthens the pelvic floor, so this is the perfect exercise to improve bladder weakness.
Chiara said: “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.”
Any kind of pilates will also help you with decreased libido linked to menopause.
The expert explained: “Menopauses can sometimes lower libido and this is totally normal and often expected, pilates can do wonders for this.
“Pilates can bring back your sexual desire by teaching our bodies to activate and strengthen the pelvic floor, which is the key for improvement in pleasure.”
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Lifting weights is a great way to build your physical strength while managing your weight.
Muscles around joints tend to naturally weaken during menopause, therefore lifting weights is a fantastic way of strengthening these muscles and increasing muscle mass.
Chiara added: “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
Difficulty sleeping is common amongst menopausal women, but yoga and meditation are a quick fix.
Chiara said: “Difficulty sleeping 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.
“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.”
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