Peri-menopause, the transitional phase before menopause, can induce a range of physical and emotional changes in a woman’s life. While these changes are natural, they can sometimes lead to discomfort and challenges. However, incorporating regular exercise and yoga into your routine can be an effective way to support your body and mind during this transformative time. We explore the benefits of exercise and yoga for peri-menopause and provide practical tips on integrating these practices into your daily life.
Peri-menopause typically starts in a woman’s late 30s or early 40s and can last several years until menopause is reached. During this phase, hormonal fluctuations occur as the ovaries gradually produce less estrogen and progesterone. These hormonal changes can result in various manifestations, such as mood swings, hot flashes, sleep disturbances, weight gain, and decreased bone density. Exercise and yoga can be instrumental in managing these symptoms and supporting overall well-being.
The Benefits of Exercise
Regular physical activity during peri-menopause offers numerous benefits. Firstly, exercise helps regulate hormone levels, which can contribute to stabilizing mood swings and reducing the frequency and intensity of hot flashes. Exercise also aids in weight management by boosting metabolism and reducing the risk of weight gain commonly associated with this stage of life. Moreover, exercise promotes better sleep, enhances cardiovascular health, enhances bone density, and reduces the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease and osteoporosis.
Types of Exercise for Perimenopause
When it comes to exercise during peri-menopause, it’s important to focus on sustainable, enjoyable activities that address specific needs. Aerobic exercises like brisk walking, swimming, dancing, and cycling help increase cardiovascular fitness, improve mood, and support weight management. Strength training exercises, including weightlifting or resistance band workouts, help maintain muscle mass, strengthen bones, and enhance overall body composition. Additionally, incorporating flexibility exercises such as yoga or Pilates can improve posture, enhance joint mobility, and reduce muscle tension.
The Power of Yoga
Yoga, a mind-body practice that combines physical postures, breathing techniques, and meditation, is particularly beneficial for peri-menopausal women. Regular yoga practice can help reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, which are common during this phase. It also improves sleep quality and overall mental well-being. Particular yoga poses, such as forward folds and twists, stimulate the abdominal organs, aiding hormonal balance. Additionally, restorative yoga poses and breathing exercises can provide relaxation and ease hot flashes.
Tips for Incorporating Exercise and Yoga
To make exercise and yoga a regular part of your peri-menopause journey, consider the following tips:
- Consult your healthcare experts before starting any new exercise regimen.
- The target is for at least 2.5 hours of moderate to-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity each week.
- Incorporate strength training exercises at least twice a week.
- Choose activities you enjoy and mix up your routine to prevent boredom.
- Practice yoga regularly, aiming for three to five sessions per week.
- Prioritize stress management techniques like meditation and deep breathing.
- Hear to your body and modify exercises as needed.
- Stay hydrated and wear appropriate clothing and footwear.
Peri-menopause is a transformative phase that brings both challenges and opportunities for growth. Regular exercise and yoga can be powerful tools to navigate this transition gracefully and support overall well-being. By including these practices in your daily routine, you can manage symptoms, improve your physical and mental health, and embrace this new chapter of your life with confidence and vitality. Remember, the journey is unique to every woman, so listen to your body, nurture yourself, and enjoy discovering what works best for you.
Perimenopausal Stage of Women
NourishDoc: What can women do during their peri-menopausal stage?
Yoga therapist Linda: For many women, birth trauma resurfaces again. And the reason for this is that, around our mid-40s, we start to lose that estrogen. As you know, it starts to fluctuate madly and slowly drops off. And by age 50-51, our variant estrogen has dropped off the cliff. And many women find that having been relatively continent relatively fine through their late 30s and even into their early 40s.
Changes during Perimenopause
Suddenly, they might start having sneezing leaks or going for a run and finding the leaking or prolapse symptoms they might have had heaviness, a dragging sensation, prolapse getting worse, they might find that have a lot more urgency issues or bladder irritation and incontinence, they might find that any scarring from an episiotomy or just any surgery might become dry, uncomfortable itchy then, constipation is a big driver of incontinence. The number one driver of incontinence is constipation.
Postural Problems in Mid-life Women
The problem concerns your posture and pelvic floor because you can’t look at how to holistically make your pelvic floor work and serve you for the rest of your life. If you’re not standing well, rolling your shoulders, and poking your head and tail tucked down, you’re sucking your belly in. Or if you’re just not using your diaphragm to breathe properly, the diaphragm and the pelvic diaphragm aren’t working well together. So that’s a holistic look at what we can do biomechanically to help us get into great physical alignment.
So we don’t have the postural problems that so many midlife women experience when they start to lose the estrogen shoulders, often frozen shoulders, upper back problems, and a lot of hip stiffness and, as I said, pelvic floor issues, so postural realignment, working on the key stabilizing muscles so that we can start to stand and sit well move, and then getting us to breathe in a way that we’re not is breathing, we’re using the diaphragm properly, and that breath is feeding down we get a good vascular flow around those pelvic organs. And, with every breath we take, we’re getting this massaging tony effect on those pelvic floor muscles.
Exercises to soften the Pelvic Floor
So we can start to do different toning exercises, that is, stabilizing the whole pelvis and massively amplifying the effect of the pelvic floor exercises. And so, getting deeper into the pelvic bowl, we also work on the structures that hold the organs in place. If we’re in a squatting position, putting those tubes straight down will help us eliminate, and we can also soften that pelvic floor and eliminate without strain. So part of a kind of looking after our pelvic floor is the breathing, getting your breathing right, learning how to breathe properly 360 breathing using the lung capacity properly, standing and sitting well, so you’re not all hunched up and tucking your tail under, learning how to do deep release work.
As muscle fibers migrate that lack estrogen, we can amplify incorrect postural issues, and tension can become energy, now emotional tension. For women, it tends to turn up in the pelvis. The squatty potty, so getting your feet up a little bit higher going into that squatting position, and then constipation management.
So we look at diet, nutrition becomes important for us. We need them really up the fiber in our diets to reduce that tendency towards low transits and constipation. Ensure we have good quality protein to get that collagen-producing and good fat.
Creams and Lubricants For Muscle Fibers.
Topical estrogen cream supplementing the pelvic area in the vagina around the sphincter muscles with estrogen is incredibly low, almost a homeopathic dose of estrogen. It is incredibly safe. So you plump up the muscle fibers, and you realize the size of them. It can help with the urethra as we age and lose that estrogen that used to become quite stiff and not pliable.
The other thing I always talk about is using a good natural organic lubrication, which would be more like putting moisturizer on our skin. Many women complain about discomfort and do not like to wear knickers even there’s though and might not be dry in sight. But it’s discomfort and itchiness that can be alleviated by just lubrication. But to re-plump the muscle fibers to regain their strength of those muscle fibers, you need to replace the estrogen down there.