Menopause is a time of change that can sometimes be confusing and a great challenge. 34 symptoms associated with the menopause have been identified! Some women are fortunate to sail through the menopause without any noticeable symptoms at all but most women will experience some symptoms although the duration and severity of these symptoms will vary from woman to woman. There are hormonal fluctuations causing hot flushes and night sweats, a loss of bone density, anxiety, depression and mood swings and everyone’s favourite – weight gain. These are just a few of the fun outcomes most of you can expect!
So What is the Menopause?
There are three stages :-
This typically begins several years before menopause when the ovaries gradually make less estrogen. Peri-menopause lasts up until menopause, the point when the ovaries stop releasing eggs. `In the last 1 to 2 years of peri-menopause, the drop in estrogen quickens. At this stage many women have menopause symptoms.
This is the point when it’s been a year since a woman had her last menstrual period. At this stage, the ovaries have stopped releasing eggs and making most of their estrogen.
These are the years after menopause. During this stage, menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes ease for most women. But health risks related to the loss of estrogen rise as she ages.
Here are some of the ways practicing Pilates on a regular basis can help.
Ease anxiety, depression and mood swings
Anxiety, depression and mood changes are hard to control, especially in peri-menopause. Pilates can boost serotonin levels. Serotonin is both a happy and calming hormone.
Relieves muscle pains
Pilates relieves pain and spasms by strengthening your muscles and endurance. It also improves posture and movement.
Pilates provides long lasting stress relief by calming the nervous system. It also regulates stress hormones, such as cortisol and adrenaline. Pilates flushes out excess stress hormones with the help of your lymphatic system. It also relives tension in your muscles through gentle stretching and movement.
Helps to Reduce the Risk of Osteoporosis
During the first few years after menopause, you may lose bone density at a rapid rate, increasing your risk of osteoporosis. Postmenopausal women with osteoporosis are especially susceptible to fractures of their spine, hips and wrists. Pilates helps to maintain bone density and it also helps to sustain stability in your movement which in turn can prevent falls and accidents.
Helps to Prevent Urinary IncontinenceH
As the tissues of your vagina and urethra lose elasticity, you may experience frequent, sudden, strong urges to urinate, followed by an involuntary loss of urine (urge incontinence), or the loss of urine with coughing, laughing or lifting (stress incontinence). You may have urinary tract infections more often.
Pilates helps to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles which may help relieve symptoms of incontinence.
Skin strength and elasticity can also be improved through Pilates. Exercise has been shown to stimulate collagen regeneration in the muscles and bones. This is an extra benefit for menopausal women.
Boosts Hormone Production
One of the most important Pilates benefits in menopause is its ability to stimulate hormone production. Pilates improves blood circulation and keeps your glands (like the ovaries) working well. With its anti-stress effects, Pilates prevents cortisol from stopping estrogen and progesterone production.
Gives you stability and balance
Aging makes our bones and muscles weaker. As a result, we become stiff and inflexible and this disturbs the alignment of our bodies. It also leads to more body aches and pains. Pilates strengthens your core which improves your balance and gives you more stability in your movement.
Improves your quality of life
More than its ability to help you with physical fitness, Pilates puts both mind and body in sync. For this reason, it can greatly improve your quality of life during menopause.
The menopause is a time of great change, but Pilates can result in more energy and confidence, less stress and a drop in hot flushes, fatigue and other related symptoms.