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Perimenopause – A new Journey

(Adapted from “Pilates for the Menopause on the Mat” by Carolyne Anthony)

Menopause is an exciting and sometimes challenging time in a woman’s life. A time of physical, emotional and spiritual change.

What is menopause?
Menopause is the permanent end of menstruation and fertility, defined as occurring 12 months after your last menstrual period.

The symptoms of menopause may be felt for at least 10 years before periods stop. This can actually be anywhere between the ages 35-55. The female hormones progesterone and particularly estrogen begin to produce less. Estrogen is responsible for the development of breast tissue, body shape, body hair and prevention of bone mass.

Collagen is the main protein of connective tissue and is also for skin strength and elasticity. As we age, the ability to rebuild collagen diminishes. Fat deposits in specific areas start to shift and the body is left with its sagging skin.

Exercise has been proven to have the ability to stimulate collagen regeneration in the muscle and bones, a benefit to prevent or slow down osteoporosis. At this stage, the female body needs a different approach to exercise programming. If you want your body to continue to function well beyond your current age, you need to plan a smart workout system.
Your workout should include the following:

  • Strength training for bone health.
  • Cardiovascular workouts for hormone balance and weight management. Getting the heart rate up and sustaining for at least 20 minutes will release the feel good hormones “endorphins” into the blood stream.
  • Balance exercises, stretching and releasing, breathing and relaxation for stress reduction, lymph drainage and resetting the parasympathetic nervous system.

Many women make the mistake of forgoing strength training and doing too much of cardio. Muscular movement is known to move lymph as well which will aid in helping women feel better as the body rids itself of toxins and excess hormones. As estrogen decline, there is a corresponding decline in bone density. Strength training may help arrest and even reverse some of these effects.
Strength training is also known to reverse the signs of aging through increase production of HGH, Human Growth Hormone. To build muscle, boost your metabolism up, increase Human Growth Hormone (hGH, your fountain of youth), keep your bones strong, stop your skin looking saggy, keep your cardio respiratory system in top shape…..the list goes on weight training is a must at this stage.

“hGH is responsible for the rapid growth during childhood – and for the repair and regeneration of human tissue throughout our lives. By the time we reach the age of 30, our HGH levels are only about 20% of their peak levels during childhood, and after the age of 30, they continue to decline at about 12 to 15% per decade.  By the time most of us are 30 years old, our bodies no longer produce enough HGH to keep pace with the cellular damage that is occurring in our bodies.  As our hGH levels continue to decline, the damage that we collectively call ‘ageing’ accelerates.”
– Human Growth Hormone (hGH) – The Key To The Post Baby Fat Loss Kingdom??By jenny on May 31, 2012 in Fat Loss, Functional Training, Optimum Nutrition/Re-Nutrition, Post Baby

Moderation Is the Key

Recent research results indicate that moderate—rather than vigorous—physical activity has the most positive effect on menopause symptoms and menopausal quality of life (MENQOL).
One study revealed that women who participated in moderate-intensity physical activity reported higher MENQOL and a lower total number of symptoms than women who engaged in either low- or high-intensity physical activity (Luque 2011). Women with low physical activity levels reported the highest frequency of symptoms and the greatest discomfort. (http://www.ideafit.com/fitness-library/the-exercise-menopause-connection, 2013)

Below are some excercises that I have personally incorporated into my own and my clients workouts. Sorry about the noise. I am still working on my editing skills!


On this note, I want to assure our ladies that menopause is not a disease. It is a time to reflect, renew and empower. Do look out for another article on dietery consideration.
Reference:
– Pilates for the Menopause on the Mat by Carolyne Anthony
– 10 Ways To REALLY Rock Your 3rd Age – Powering up Your Peri-Menopause And Beyond! By jenny on August 10, 2014