I met the lovely Emma Harris several months ago after finding that we had the same amazing pre- and postnatal fitness training, the same life plan (run our own biz helping women get stronger) and lived in the same,ish, neighbourhood!
Emma specialises in bespoke postnatal personal training but also has some additional training under her belt in working with women in the menopausal years (or the '3rd age' which I like the sound of more). So she kindly wrote this post for me to share with you, giving some super simple advice around looking after your health when your hormones begin to change. Thanks Emma!
"The Menopause. The very word makes most people groan. Hot flashes, mood swings, brittle bones......not great, but do we have to be passive by-standers watching our bodies descend into middle age, is it all negative?
Let’s start with the Perimenopause. This usually starts around the late 40’s when periods become erratic in frequency before stopping completely. You’ve officially reached the Menopause when you have gone for one year without a period. What is actually happening is quite a complex decline in certain hormones which have various effects on the body. The main one we need to focus on is Oestrodiol, one of the Oestrogens. It is produced by the ovaries from puberty to menopause and has several functions, some of which our bodies can adapt to doing without, but others we need to take action to compensate for, if we are to safe-guard our future health.
The two things we really need to focus on are the increased risk of heart disease and the increased risk of fractures as bone mineral density declines. BUT...... and here’s the thing, neither of these have to apply to you because you can take action now to reduce these risks, not just a bit but significantly, to the point they are no longer an issue.
Cardiovascular health (your blood vessels and heart) inevitably declines with age but is strongly affected by the right diet and the right type of exercise. Bone mineral density.....what exactly is this then? Well, bones are not static structures. They are highly responsive tissues, in a constant state of remodelling and adapt according to the conditions and demands placed upon them. What do they need to be strong and healthy? Guess what, the right type of exercise and diet (again).
Nourishing your body is huge, absolutely huge. Without the right building-blocks your cells need to do their job correctly, nothing else matters. Not a big deal, just eat, on the whole, natural, normal food; nothing wacky. Plenty of veg, clean protein, omega oils, whole grains and keep well hydrated. Nothing wrong with the odd 'not-so-healthy-but-oh-so-tasty' snack, just watch the refined sugar, alcohol and caffeine..... enjoy what you eat.
As for exercise, your cardiovascular system needs to be pushed in order to get stronger. 20 minutes, 3 times a week to begin with, doing something that elevates your heart rate and gets you hot and sweaty. For strong, resilient bones you need weight-bearing exercise, lifting increasingly challenging weights, starting with your own body weight using all the main muscles will stimulate your bones to respond and grow strong. Some impact exercise is also highly beneficial providing your pelvic floor is strong enough. Be sensible and exercise according to your limits, seeking expert advice if necessary.
All in all then, menopause is inevitable but not necessarily a big problem. Use it to spur you on to focus on your future health and fitness. There is no reason why the second half of you life cannot be as productive, full of vitality and fun as the first half. Don’t wait, start right now, get your body strong and ready. You just need to be ‘on it and all over it’ ..... as my son would say 😁.
Thank you Emma for sharing these super simple insights. Essentially, becoming more in tune with your body's changing needs, learning to eat and move a little better every single day is going to mean you can manage your menopausal symptoms, and keep yourself happy and well, a lot more easily.
Soon I'll be writing about exactly why your usual diet and exercise plan might not be working quite so well as it was and why we tend to develop extra fat around our tummies during the peri-post menopausal period so stay tuned. In the mean time, if you've any questions or would like some personal training with Emma, you can find her on facebook here or if you'd like an online fitness coaching plan with me, send me a message through my website.
Health & Happiness,
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