Ok, so I don't like to admit the fact that I am not getting any younger. As a woman over 40 (okay 45!), I have come to realise that hormonal changes occur in the body that can significantly disrupt daily activities and sense of well-being. Although women in their 50's go through the menopause, it can occur earlier in some women and not all symptoms are experienced at the same intensity.
Research has demonstrated the positive effects of exercise and physical activity on reducing menopausal symptoms. I will explain below about what the menopause is and the symptoms that can occur and I will write more blogs, which will give more information of each symptom of the menopause and how exercise and nutrition help ease the symptoms.
What is the Menopause? The menopause is the term commonly used to refer to the period of time when a woman’s menstrual period changes. It starts with irregular periods and some symptoms of the menopause (listed below) and this is called the peri-menopause. Once a woman has not had a period for one year then this is known as being in the menopause. This process of changing hormone levels can last for more than 10 years and women may experience widely varying hormone levels, specifically estrogen, progesterone, follicle stimulating hormone,and luteinizing hormone. These hormones alone, and in combination, are responsible for a wide range of processes within the body. Associated with menopause are increased risks of osteoporosis (bone thinning) and cardiovascular disease, even in women without any previous significant history. Women lose lean mass tissue at the rate of 5% per decade from their 30s, and will generally find they gain more belly fat after turning 50.
Symptoms. Hot flushes, night sweats, difficulty in sleeping, headaches, mood swings including low mood, irritability, anxiety and depression, palpitations, joint stiffness, aches and pains, reduced muscle mass, weight gain (particularly in the abdomen), reduction on bone density (osteoporosis).
How does exercise help? Positive changes do not seem to be brought on by the 'correction' of hormonal concentration but rather from the positive effects of frequent exercise and include increased cardiovascular fitness, improvements in body composition and promoting the loss of abdominal fat which is a common place for postmenopausal weight gain, decreased anxiety and depression, decrease feelings of fatigue and chronic muscle pain and improve sleep. Heart disease and osteoporosis risk increase after menopause and the good news is that this risk can be decreased substantially with a regular physical-activity programme including cardio and resistance training. Strength training helps bones to retain the minerals that keep them dense and strong, thereby preventing the onset and progression of osteoporosis. These effects of exercise, along with improved cholesterol levels and physical fitness, work together to help prevent heart disease.
Recommended Frequency and Intensity of Exercise
The exercise recommendations for women in either peri- or post-menopause are very similar for all women but starting an exercise programme can be difficult, especially during times when hormonal fluctuations result in a variety of physiological and psychological changes. It is important to note that boosting your health is important, as well as minimizing any symptoms brought on by the menopause.
The American College of Sports Medicine recommend:
30 minutes of cardiovascular activity a day for 5 days a week or this can be broken down in shorter bouts of exercise that totals 150 minutes per week. Do an activity that elevates your heart rate and makes you break into a sweat whilst still being able to hold a conversation.
In addition to the cardiovascular activity, do strenth training twice a week on main muscle groups. Exercise intensity should be increased slowly starting with at least 8 exercises of 8-12 repetitions.
Research has shown that classes that encourage focused relaxation and breathing, such as yoga, may be beneficial for reducing hot flashes and also meditation may also help.
In my next few blogs, I will go further into detail on the symptoms of the menopause and how exercises can help the specific symptoms and also how nutrition can also help.
The new Metafit classes are going well at Realfit Conditioning and Education Centre, Eaton Socon. They are on Fridays 9.30 am and the first Sunday session will be on 28 Sep 14 at 10 am - just after the Realspin session. To book a place you can download the Mind Body Connect app and search for Realfit. Also you can email email@example.com or call 01480 219272. Come along for a great High Intensity Interval Training session using bodyweight exercises, burning calories even after you have stopped exercising.
I attended the Metafit Instructor Course in Newcastle on 22 Aug 14 which I loved. A High Intensity Interval Training session comprising of bodyweight exercises, which is a great way to burn calories and increase metabolism, even after you have stopped exercising. Classes starting in September, contact me for details.
I have started taking sessions at Realfit Conditioning and Education in Eaton Socon. An excellent centre to be educated and trained on functional training. Some fabulous equipment there and all instructor-led sessions to ensure that you are training effectively. I am also doing Personal Training there so contact me for details.
I had a great time taking part in the Race for Life at Cambridge. I ran the full 5k and it was fab to see so many people there supporting Cancer Research UK, such a worthwhile cause. I ran as part of the team 'Team Heart' - Heart FM. If you would like to help support this cause, please donate to my justgiving webpage (click on the Justgiving button below). Thanks
I have made the decision to cancel Buggyfit classes but if you do have any questions about pre and post natal fitness, please do not hesitate to contact me.
New Bootcamp Session
I have been asked to put on an extra Bootcamp session at Hinchingbrooke Park. The first one is on Monday 10 Feb 14 at 10-11 am and will be on every Monday after that. It will be good to have a morning session and I am looking forward to seeing everyone. Hopefully, photos to follow soon.
I have previously covered as a Casual Fitness Consultant at One Leisure Sawtry, when they are short-staffed. I am pleased to say that I have got a regular shift at One Leisure St Ives on Wednesdays so I am looking forward to it.
Still keeping busy with my classes and due to the holidays, have been getting some extra ones.
My Buggyfit classes are now up and running, I have changed my Tuesday class at Hinchingbrooke Park to Mondays at 11.30 am and this seems to be a more popular day/time. The Thursday classes are Hill Rise Park, St Ives are popular.
Hope you are all finding the motivation to exercise and lead a healthy lifestyle.
Buggyfit classes will be starting next week at Hinchingbrooke Park and Hill Rise Park, St Ives. I am really looking forward to them. Check the Buggyfit link for further details.
What sort of training do you prefer doing and where?
I prefer interval training as I feel that it motivates me more rather than endurance training. Maybe its because I am impatient and like to get it over and done with quicker. I do feel that it is more effective, working the heart and increasing the heart rate at intervals. If you are running on a treadmill, try increasing the speed or increase the incline for a short period of time and then reducie it, repeat 5 times.