Director, MenoHealth and fitness specialist in menopause exercise classes
Pictured above, centre
Do you feel like you’re fighting a losing battle with the clock? Are you being pulled from pillar to post and you’re sinking to the bottom of the priority list? Menopause hits us at a time of life when we’re just too busy to look after ourselves.
It’s no wonder we are all looking for a quick fix for the sudden onslaught of symptoms; weight gain, aching joints, insomnia, low mood, fatigue and an expanding waistline.
We’re always searching for a cream, potion or prescription to sort things out. But there is something out there that has miraculous benefits and can help us to lose weight, tone up, fight fatigue, improve sleep and lift our mood. Side effects include reducing our risk of cancer, dementia, stroke and heart disease by up to 50%. So, what’s not to like?
Of course, the menopause miracle is exercise but just the mention of the word is a turn-off for many of us especially during this turbulent time of our lives. How can we motivate ourselves when we’re already too busy and too tired? I’ve helped many a self-confessed exercise hater to get moving by changing their mindset with small but realistic goals.
And by encouraging them to love the way exercise makes them feel about themselves, especially when our confidence takes a dive.
Exercise doesn’t have to be hard work, painful or a punishment; you just have to find something that you enjoy and do it regularly. Some love walking and talking, others like yoga or swimming or dancing – all activity is good.
In a perfect world we should all do at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise every week. If that seems overwhelming, it might help if you look at it this way; it’s just 2% of your whole week during waking hours and it’s the most powerful thing you can do for your physical and mental health. Break it up into ten-minute chunks and suddenly it doesn’t seem so unachievable.
So you need to make every minute count by including the four things that are vital to help you through menopause and beyond: cardio for heart health, impact for boosting bones, resistance for strength and muscle tone and stretches for flexibility. I would encourage you to also include balance and much-needed pelvic floor exercises, which you can do everyday at home, even when you’re brushing your teeth.
Women need to start talking about menopause
There’s another reason I’m on a mission to get more women talking about menopause. I had to have a hysterectomy at 36 and wasn’t given HRT because of the misleading research at the time that linked it to increased breast cancer risk. I’ve now been diagnosed with osteoporosis. If only I’d know then what I know now. Although I can’t turn back the clock, I’m passionate about empowering other women to take control of menopause by giving them the information and support they deserve.
When it comes to menopause, knowledge is key. Getting the right information now will not only help us with our symptoms, it will also help us to recognise that what we do now will affect the rest of our lives.
With the right information, treatment, support and exercise, we can live our best lives through menopause and beyond.