I’ve been working with the over 40’s now for awhile and it is a true passion of mine to support these ladies at this time in their life. Now I’m not saying that 40 is classed as midlife but definitely things are starting to change from a hormonal point of view at this age and the more proactive we can be in our early 40’s the better prepared we go into menopause. I’m actually starting my preparation now and I’m turning 35 in August.
Every woman experiences menopause differently. For some, the symptoms are mild and pass quickly. For others, it’s an explosion of hot flashes and mood swings. The good news is you can adopt lifestyle changes to help cope with the changes occurring in your body. Though frequent workouts haven’t been proven as a means of reducing menopausal symptoms, they can ease the transition by helping to relieve stress and enhance your overall quality of life.
Regular exercise is also an excellent way to stave off weight gain and loss of muscle mass, which are two frequent symptoms of menopause.
Here are 10 steps for mindful midlife movement that you should be incorporating into your weekly/monthly movement regime.
- Improve/Maintain Cardiovascular Health. I’ve filmed a video about this and how important it is. Watch it here. Aerobic activity that makes use of your large muscle groups while keeping up your heart rate is a good thing. Your options for cardio are limitless. Almost any activity counts, for example walking, jogging, cycling, swimming. Be creative and get your heart pumping 🙂
- Include ‘Appropriate Impact’ For Bone Health. Because osteoporosis risk skyrockets following menopause (oestrogen is needed to help lay down bone), strength training is especially vital. Strength training exercises will help to build bone and muscle strength, burn body fat, and rev up your metabolism. I say ‘appropriate impact’ because we also have to take into consideration your pelvic health at this time and work on pressure management techniques.
- Cue for Integrated Core. Lots of ladies have never been taught how to synergise their core and pelvic floor activation with the breath. This is so important at this stage in life (actually in all phases of life) and will enable you to help yourself FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE!! Learning this cue can truly be life-changing. Did you know that after the age of 35 we lose 2% of our pelvic muscles every year? It’s so important at this stage in life to work these muscles and keep them strong. They support your internal organs so we need to learn how to incorporate our pelvic floor muscles into functional, daily activities.
- Improve/Maintain Foot Proprioception. I honestly think the feet are the most neglected part of the whole body. We pound the streets day after day and squeeze them into shoes and we never show them any love. Over time the foot can actually lose dexterity and strength which can then put more strain on other muscles (calf, hamstrings, glutes, lower back – basically the whole of the back line of the body) and can also lead to trouble with balance. Have a think when was the last time you showed your feet some love?
- Improve Foot, Ankle, Hip, Thoracic Mobility. We want to keep your muscle moving well and for them to support your body in the best way possible. Getting regular massages can really help with this as well as certain releases to keep you moving well.
- Lymphatic Circulation. This body system plays an essential role in boosting your immune system. It also facilitates in the transport of lymph through a network of tissues and blood vessels in your body. Lymph is a colourless fluid that contains urea, glucose, protein and salt. It is filtered by your lymph nodes in order to get rid of bacteria, viruses, damaged cells and waste products. We need to keep your elimination pathways open so toxins can move easily out of the body. Some ways we can do this are by exercising, deep breathing, skin brushing, massage and remove heavy metals/toxins in as many areas of your life as possible.
- Hit EPOC Markers For Fat Loss/Management. Excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, also known as EPOC, is the scientific term for the afterburn effect, which can help you burn more calories long after you’ve finished your workout. Studies show resistance exercise results in greater post-exercise oxygen consumption compared to steady-state endurance exercise that burns the same number of calories. So while you might burn the same calories during an hour-long jog, shorter, more intense workouts give you more bang for your buck. Little and often is best if you’re looking for fat loss.
- Hydrate Fascia. Our mobility, integrity, and resilience are determined in large part by how well hydrated our fascia is. Massage and self-care tools like foam rollers, massage balls etc. can help with this as can movement but the movement has to be varied. This means variation not just of the movements themselves, but also variation of tempo. Not only does moving constantly in the same ways and in the same planes put you at further risk for joint erosion, but you are also dehydrating the fascia in a particular pattern setting you up for that brittle tissue that injuries love so much.
- Maintain Fascial ‘Spring’. When your tissue retains (or regains) its natural spring, the rebound effect of the fascia allows you to use less muscle power, and therefore fatigue less rapidly. It’s like you have a little built-in trampoline action going on. You can work this ‘spring’ with certain impact exercises.
- Improve Functional Posture. How we hold ourselves for the majority of our day will have an impact on all of the above so this is probably the most important one that I saved until last. Your can’t build strength on to a wonky foundation so setting the foundation first and building yourself up from the inside-out is always going to be number 1!! Releasing what’s tight and overactive and strengthening what’s weak and inhibited needs to be worked on and maintained and seen as the ultimate self-care. Listening to your body and what’s it’s trying to tell you can be invaluable. Your body gives you signals every day and we can either choose to listen or ignore. Please start to listen and make the changes needed to improve your posture, health and overall wellbeing.
If you would like to attend a class that focuses on all of the above then why not pop along to my POWER 40+ Class. Every Wednesday 9.30-10.30am at Follan Natural Health Centre. Click here to find out more.