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Free Physio-led Pilates for Menopause Series

Join me on the mat from anywhere in the world for a new FREE 6 x 20min Menopause miniseries - designed by me with the menopause body in mind. Share this series with women you love, and encourage each other to live an active menopause.

Join the 6 x 20min Menopause Pilates mini series and share with your friends

Let's be honest, openly discussing menopause doesn't seem to be top on society's agenda and I certainly didn't learn about menopause at school. For myself as a 35yr old woman, I've scarcely thought about this change that is 100% for certain going to happen within my body. Through the wisdom of one of my gorgeous clients, I was inspired to research deeper into this topic and subsequently create a 6x20min mini series for the menopause body. The series is designed to get you from a less-active lifestyle, to a life of more joy, confidence, fun, mobility and strength.

What can I expect from The Menopause Series?

This series is great to get you moving mindfully and safely if you've spent a long time without regular targeted exercise, is a wonderful little challenge to share with your friends and can be used weekly to support and enhance an already active lifestyle. Here's what you can expect:

Each 20-25min video will target a specific area of the body or cover a precise exercise concept that will strengthen your bones and muscles through your body's natural hormonal changes.
  • Class 1 : essential posture, core work and alignment

  • Class 2: gentle flexibility

  • Class 3: essential upper body

  • Class 4: essential lower body

  • Class 5: resistance training

  • Class 6: low impact cardio

What is the menopause and how can this Pilates series help you?

As women age, as certain as the sun shines, we will all enter the menopause. There is no exact point that menopause begins, no specific age or time, and each women's experience of menopause is as unique as our personality.

To simplify a complex process, during menopause our oestrogen levels lower causing chemical changes in the body.

Oestrogen has an effect on many biological processes in the body, two of them being bone mineral density as well as biological processes that influence skeletal muscle mass and skin elasticity.

Remember, you are not alone, we're in this together

Of course each woman's menopause journey is unique, however there are a few common threads that I've noticed when I meet women in this stage of life who may have received a diagnosis of osteopenia or osteoporosis from their doctor and have been prescribed exercise such as Pilates. These women may not have exercised in a long time and suddenly find themselves in a group Pilates or fitness class which can be quite daunting and scary in the beginning, especially when you believe that your body is fragile or damaged or are returning after having had various injuries or surgeries.

A lack of information about our body leads to a lack of trust, fear and a sense of dis-ownership. Lack of general awareness about menopause and lack of considered patient education about conditions such as osteopenia and osteoporosis often results in a fear of movement, hyper-vigilance, lack of trust in one self and avoidance of movements we believe to be “unsafe” such as flexion movements of the spine - which may be a contraindication for some people, but is often totally safe when done carefully or built up gradually and safely over time.

I find women are often apprehensive of resistance training with weights, scared of loading into joints such as the wrists, and afraid of loading with plyometric exercises such as gentle jumping or hopping, believing that it will cause damage or build bulky muscle, which is not the case at all - if done with the right guidance and support and built up through commitment and consistency.

What does bone density have to do with menopause?

Decreased bone mineral mass density as a result of hormonal changes in menopause can often result in osteopenia, which is a precursor to osteoporosis (porous bone). Osteoporosis is a very common issue affecting menopausal women. Bones that are less densely packed with bone cells become porous and more fragile and can look similar to honeycomb when viewed under a microscope. Lower bone density leaves us with a higher risk of fracture if we slip, trip or fall as we go about our day. Fracture risk is also increased if we are inactive, don’t take care of our diet and don't get regular sunlight. Hip fractures are a big problem faced by many of our elderly population and is associated with huge medical costs and negative health repercussions. This increased fracture risk occurs alongside age-related loss of balance, lack of strength, poor proprioception (our awareness of where we are in space), reduced joint range of motion and low cardiovascular endurance - issues that creep up as we allow ourselves to become more sedentary or take less exercise.


How are my muscles affected by menopause?

Skeletal muscles are what we use to move our body through the world, generate force and provide active stability to the bones of our joints. Sarcopenia (loss of skeletal muscle mass) is another issue associated with menopause, natural ageing, hormonal and neurological change. Essentially, sarcopenia means that our muscles begin to waste away or atrophy, leaving us weaker and more vulnerable to injury. Muscular strength loss often accelerates significantly with the onset of menopause, followed by a more rapid loss after the age of 60.

The good news is that muscle mass and bone density can be drastically improved through regular exercise such as resistance training and optimal loading of our joints.

So the message is clear to start early with strength-related preventative measures.

What can I do to prepare my body for menopause?

In conjunction with a healthy diet and lifestyle, physical exercise can be used as a non pharmacological intervention to prevent and in some cases reverse loss of bone mineral density and skeletal muscle mass. “Several exercise modalities are recommended to elicit the improvement of functional capacity, for example, continuous and intermittent exercises (walking and running), flexibility and resistance training” - Leite et al (2010).

Resistance training, although not historically not often used to combat these bone and muscle changes, is gaining serious attention as a wonderful tool to increase longevity and reduce several alterations that occur during menopause such as sarcopenia, osteopenia, insulin resistance and increased inflammatory markers. Studies increasingly mention progressive resistance training as a promising intervention to change body composition, reverse the sarcopenia process as well as the deterioration of muscle structure associated with menopause.

One resistance training protocol used in a recent study consisted of 3 sets of 10 repetitions at 85 % of the one repetition-maximum (1RM) alternating upper and lower muscle group exercises with 1 min of rest interval. This study has shown that over 24 weeks, if done 3 days per week, promoted significant decreases in body mass, body mass index, and body fat and an increase in skeletal muscle mass.

Finally, I truly believe we need to talk about menopause, educate family and friends and rid ourselves of any shame as we embark in a vulnerable but empowering time in our lives. Your body is beautiful.

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