Let’s talk about menopause. It’s not bad enough that we have just gone through or still going through hot flushes that make us wonder why a life size freezer isn’t parked on every corner, or in your bedroom for convenience. Or that some of us experience mood swings that make Norman Bates look like a creampuff, and a host of other uncomfortable symptoms in our nether regions.
We can add to this the inevitable weight gain! Yep unfortunately even though you could have been a string bean your entire life the majority of us will obtain a new unwanted tyre or two around the middle, tuck shop lady arms (no offense to tuck shop ladies) and a caboose that your grandmother wore. Gravity takes hold, everything heads south and we are left scratching our heads, looking in the mirror and asking what the hell happened seemingly overnight.
Firstly What is Menopause?
This is the change of life when the production of Oestrogen and Progesterone via the ovaries cease, marking the end of the reproductive era.
A number of health risks that are associated with post menopause such as;
- Heart Disease
- Sleep Apnea
- Gum Disease
- Breast Cancer
- Auto Immune – particularly thyroid
- Eating disorders due to normal 3-5 kg weight gain during transition
- Urinary issues
- Liver disease
It certainly isn’t encouraging to look at the list of possible risks and wonder if any are going to knock on your door if they haven’t already.
We can’t beat nature, but we can certainly prolong or avoid the increased health risks with a good lifestyle regime.
Weight bearing exercises are well documented for building bone mass, improving cardio health and assisting in mood improvement, so get to the gym, get that trainer and get to work on building your bones, and whipping menopause’s new bulge’s ass.
If the gym isn’t for you or weight bearing isn’t your jam then find a club that does mini trampoline classes or buy yourself one. Bouncing is a must for ladies wanting to build bone mass, get a cardio workout that is gentle yet effective and get that lymph system moving, which ever suits just move that body. Every second day is your goal.
Nutrition! This is 90% of the battle, eat well. 80% of your diet should be made up of vegetables and fruits, 20% should be made up of lean meats, nuts and seeds. Avoid sugar like the plague, it’s more addictive than cocaine (that’s a cute fact) and with hormone reduction your body stores it instead of using it. Hello new roll on tummy in the morning. Avoid all white products. Try switching your dinner meal to your lunch meal and having light salad or smoothie for dinner. This gives you body time to metabolise the heavier meal and use it rather than sleeping on it.
Mindfulness also plays a key role in this process. If you aren’t already add yoga, tai chi, body balance or pilates to your exercise regime. These practices teach you breathing techniques, correct posture, pelvic floor strength (that’s a whole blog on it’s own) and help you relax enough to find your happy place and let stress go.
It’s also worth mentioning the power of the mind and how useful it is to utilise during and after the transition. Any form of Meditation is a godsend, and if this is impossible due to your lifestyle or where your mind is at practice deep breathing.
Quick Breathing Exercise
Sit still (even if you have to take a loo break for peace), close your eyes, back straight, take a deep breath in through your nose at the same time pulling up your pelvic floor and flattening your belly button to your spine and carry that breath all the way into your head and hold the muscles and the breath for a count of 5, then release and breathing out through your mouth, relax and repeat. Do this at least 5 times.
The above are guidelines to help give you ideas on ways to handle the changes in your body during and after menopause. There are many more techniques and solutions that are available, but I have chosen to address the key areas. So get motivated, get determined and pull out your zen and gym shoes. Let’s focus on working with our body and its changes.