Our menopause experience will be as unique as our fingerprint. Each and every one of us who go through this journey at this stage of life is likely to have a completely different experience to anyone else. The good news is that with the right Lifestyle Choices we can all naturally help to reduce near enough all the menopausal symptoms.
Did you know that 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 oestrogen, progesterone, and testosterone that can bring on many of the symptoms that occur through the menopause.
So, let’s look at some of those 34 Symptoms and what it can mean to those of us that are affected by them
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 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. 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 oestrogen, 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. 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?!!”
Which is why it may come as quite a shock. However, the actual cause of that menopausal weight gain is due to an effect that few 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 because 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 suddenly, 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 you will also be helping your joints, strengthening your bones, and lifting your mood, and it will help with improving your sleep and increasing your cardiovascular health. It is the only way to reduce the excess menopausal weight, and better still to help keep it off.
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 help to re-strengthen your bones. The reason being that every time we apply pressure on our bones by movement it creates a piezo-chemical reaction, and this then helps the bone (which is 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. Again, lifestyle plays a key 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 oestrogen, and one of the roles oestrogen plays is to help protect our arteries. It helps to reduce any plaque that builds up inside the lining, so with the decline of oestrogen 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. Therefore, 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 – yes, our best friend – Exercise!
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.
Nutrition is also 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. However, 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, as our lifestyle will have a significant 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.