Firstly, some women will experience hardly any, whereas other women may experience many of the 34 menopausal symptoms (which are also the same for perimenopause)
Our menopause experience will be as unique as our fingerprint. So one woman’s journey in this stage of life could be completely different to another’s.
But the good news is that with the right Lifestyle Choices we can all naturally help to reduce near enough all of the menopausal symptoms.
DID YOU KNOW?
Currently there are over 37.5 million women going through, or about to go through, the menopause.
It is a natural stage of our life that every woman will go through. The average age is 51, but can start as early as our 40s and up until our late 50s.
SO WHAT IS THE MENOPAUSE?
Put in basic terms, the Menopause is simply when your periods stop and your body ends its fertile life. You are considered to be menopausal when you have not had a period for over 1 year.
WHAT HAPPENS WITH YOUR HORMONES IN THE MENOPAUSE?
As your ovaries stop producing eggs, your hormone levels start to decline, and it is the decline of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone that can bring on many of the symptoms that occur through the menopause.
The good news is that we can reverse so many of these symptoms by exercise, and of course by our lifestyle choices and eating habits.
I am going to break this up into sections.
So let’s kick this off by looking at how exercise can help with improving and controlling our mood
Mood swings can happen within an instant, and you can feel anything from extreme anger to severe anxiety. And one of the best ways to erase this is with exercise. The reason being that when we move, our serotonin levels increase. Serotonin is basically a chemical that sends a message to our brain to feel good, which is why it is also known as the happy & feel-good hormone.
So this is where doing a quick little workout or simply a walk around the block will help alleviate any mood swings associated with the menopause.
The reason this becomes a symptom during the menopause is again down to the natural decline in levels of estrogen, as this is what prior to the menopause helped to keep our joints fully lubricated. Yet the good news is that with exercise we can help naturally to increase this, as mobility will help produce synovial fluid which is a natural lubrication for our joints. So every time you exercise you can help to stimulate this, which will then be just like you are oiling your joints, and this will reduce the joint stiffness.
Weight gain can turn up seemingly overnight! It can happen quite suddenly, and we may think “but I am not eating more than normal, so why am I piling on the pounds?!!”
This is why it may come as quite a shock. But the actual cause of that menopausal weight gain is due to an effect that not many people talk about, and failure to address this is why so many women then struggle to lose weight in and around the menopause.
The best way, and in my eyes one of the only ways, to lose weight is to start addressing the cause, which is SARCOPENIA- meaning the loss of skeletal muscle mass and strength as a result of aging – which has a big effect on our resting natural calorie burn.
In our younger years we could pretty much eat what we want and not worry about our waistline changing, but as soon as SARCOPENIA takes effect things change, and all of a sudden we don’t burn off those calories as we once did.
But with exercise we can reverse this, and by doing specially created full body moves that engage multi-compound and multi-directional moves, you can reverse the SARCOPENIA EFFECT and get your metabolism back up, and then you can increase your resting calorie burn. This is the only way to reduce the excess menopausal weight, and better still to help keep it off.
But here is the clever bit: this also has a side effect of helping your joints, strengthening your bones, and lifting your mood, and it will help with improving your sleep and increasing your cardiovascular health.
During the menopause we start to lose our bone mass, so our bones become less solid and more brittle – but again the good news here is that exercise can actually help to re-strengthen your bones. The reason being that every time we apply pressure on our bones by movement it actually creates a piezo-chemical reaction, and this then helps the bone (which is actually a living and growing tissue) to become strong again. So you can build up your bone strength.
Sleep can be disturbed through the menopause, with night sweats, anxiety, and poor quality sleep. And again Lifestyle plays a high role here in helping to reduce these effects. Something that’s particularly needed is looking at a healthy diet, and avoiding certain foods close to bedtime, such as any
foods high in caffeine. Get into a set routine so that your body clock has a good pattern that it follows. Possibly aim from Monday to Friday to always be in bed at 10:30 pm, say, with all technology switched off, and give yourself a nice book to fall asleep to.
Finally let’s talk heart health, as to be honest this is the most important item of all.
As we know, in the menopause we have a decline in the production of estrogen, and one of the roles estrogen plays is to help protect our arteries. It helps to reduce any plaque that builds up inside the lining, so with the decline of estrogen the plaque can then build up, and this can cause blockages in our arteries, which then puts the heart under pressure as the circulation is being restricted. This is why more than ever before we need to look at ways to help to naturally increase our
cardiovascular health, and guess who comes back to the rescue here again –
EXERCISE AND HEALTHY EATING.
So, by doing exercise we strengthen the heart, and the stronger your heart is, the more powerful it is at pumping blood through your arteries. You then get a healthy supply of oxygen to your vital organs. Plus a strong and powerful supply of blood helps keep the artery walls clear of plaque.
And nutrition is key, because if we are eating high fatty foods and high sugar we are going to build up fatty plaques which sit on our arteries. But if we eat whole grain foods, and plenty of vegetables and fruit, we are going to be reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.
In summary, our Lifestyle will have a big impact on how we feel and look during the menopause.
Let’s embrace this new chapter. It is time to invest in a pair of trainers and take on the Menopause with a positive mindset, regular exercise, and healthy eating, so that we start feeling good again and back in the driving seat of being us.