5 Ways Exercise Can Support Your Menopause Transition
Hot flashes, body aches, mood swings, weight gain.
These are the things we hear about menopause. It's no wonder so many women have dread, despair and stress around this time in their life. What we don't talk about, however, is all the opportunity women have at this time—to move better, get stronger and turn over a new leaf to complete mind-body connection.
It's important that we talk about menopause openly every day, so Antonietta Vicario, VP of Talent and Training and Dr. Amy Hoover, Chief Physical Therapist and member of the Clinical Advisory Board dive into menopause and movement.
1. Understand what your body is going through.
Menopause is defined as the time when a woman stops menstruating for 12 months. The time surrounding this, which can be several years, is called perimenopause. It is a normal and natural part of a woman’s life. The changing hormone levels during this time cause changes in our bodies. During this period women may experience a variety of symptoms, which vary woman to woman and vary in intensity.
Some of the most common symptoms are hot flashes, sleep disturbance, constipation, mood changes, bladder changes and vaginal dryness. Some of the other changes that occur may not necessarily cause symptoms, but are things to be aware of which include loss of bone density, postural changes and loss of muscle mass. The good news is that the P.volve Method can help mitigate many of these symptoms and enhance quality of life.
2. Adapt to the changes
It's a common misconception that there is nothing to do about these changes. On the contrary, movement and mindfulness are essential for women in this stage of life as it ties into all aspects of wellness in this population including weight management, cardiovascular health, stress reduction, improved sleep and brain health. Proper nutrition is also essential, as what we eat has a profound effect on how we feel and how our body functions. Symptoms of menopause, like so many other aspects of life and health, can be improved with three things: nutrition, movement, and mindset.
3. Make way for a new kind of movement.
Women in this age bracket have gradual loss of muscle mass and increased incidence of gluteal tendinopathy (constant pain near the side of the hip), plantar fasciitis (heel pain) and rotator cuff tendinopathy (pain and inflammation near the shoulder.) Targeted hip, gluteal and abdominal/core strengthening as well as shoulder and postural exercises can help combat some of these gradual changes that occur as our hormone levels shift.
Additionally, this is the time in life where women really need to integrate heavy weight training to combat the loss of muscle mass. Leveraging our Progressive Weight Training classes will offset loss in muscle mass and body composition changes to keep one’s metabolism optimized.
Pelvic floor strengthening is also essential to help the changing environment in the vaginal tissue due to lower levels of progesterone and estrogen surrounding menopause, which can affect pelvic organ support and function. Bone density loss is an important topic for perimenopause. Menopausal women should get bone density scans and monitor risk factors to ensure they are maintaining good bone health to help reduce risk of fracture. Cardiovascular, weight bearing and higher resistance exercise is essential for maintaining and improving bone density and stimulating strong, healthy bones. Balance exercises are also essential to help maintain functional mobility and reduce fall risk.
4. Add resistance—the right way!
While mobility, stability and strengthening are a main part of the P.volve methodology, women in this group will benefit most with equipment that adds resistance such as heavy and light hand weights, the p.band, p.ball, heavy ankle band, and light ankle band.
These P.volve programs were created with menopausal and post-menopausal women in mind and are recommended to help mitigate some of the symptoms you may be feeling:
- Moving with Menopause: This collection of classes created in partnership with Elektra Health features a mix of workouts, mindfulness and restorative classes, and educational talks to help better manage symptoms you may experience throughout menopause. In this ground-breaking series, we help mitigate body composition changes, brain fog, bone density and muscle mass loss, sleep problems, fatigue, and more while empowering you with the knowledge to understand what your body needs along the way.
- Pelvic Floor Strengthening: This one is for pelvic floor strengthening. The first workout in the series will help women identify what and where the pelvic floor muscles are and how to use them. From there, the series builds in intensity so that women discover how to use their pelvic floor in other programs on the streaming platform.
5. Be patient and kind to yourself.
Embracing the changes in your body and working with your body during this phase can not only improve your symptoms but improve your quality of life. Understanding the changes to your body and empowering yourself with a plan to meet your health goals will set you up for success as you move into this phase of life. Proper nutrition, self care and appropriate movement programs are excellent tools to improve and maintain your lifestyle goals.
MEET THE EXPERTS
P.volve Trainer & VP of Talent and Training
Antonietta Vicario is a mover and educator, a mother, and a lover of life among many other things! Currently the Vice President of Talent and Training for
P.volve, Antonietta specializes in recruiting, training, and program development. She is in love with teaching the P.volve Method, integrating functional training into a high-intensity, low-impact workout.
DR. AMY HOOVER
Dr. Amy Hoover is P.volve’s Chief Physical Therapist, member of the Clinical Advisory Board, and the owner and operator of APHysio LLC, wellness practice that specializes in manual therapy, pre and post-natal care, pelvic floor disorders and more. Here at P.volve, she’s able to share her expertise directly with our community as it applies to the method and its impact on the body.
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