There is also local therapies for estrogen deficiency like the vaginal estrogen ring, or estrogen creams that can be applied vaginally. For many women used to good health in their past, the transition into and through menopause can be fraught with challenges, not only internally but also externally, in the form of fat depositing in places that it hasn’t previously done.
For fitness professionals, especially personal trainers, training menopausal women can be challenging, not only in terms of understanding the support that some female clients need at this time, but also in terms of what works and what doesn’t when it comes to exercise and nutrition prescription. Here, we explore why and how menopause and post-menopause are critical events for the health of women and why, now that hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is no longer in vogue, finding new ways to manage menopause matters. While menopause is a natural process that occurs in women’s lives as part of normal ageing, for some women this transition can be quite disabling. The years preceding menopause that encompass the transition from normal menstruation to cessation are termed the peri-menopausal years and are generally characterised by irregular periods. Post-menopause begins at the time of the final menstrual period, although it is often not recognised until after 12 months of a woman’s periods ceasing. Let’s examine these changes and take a look at why it can be a time of physical and psychological chaos. In the peri-menopausal transition, women experience an accelerated loss of ovarian follicles. Once menstruation stops completely for 60 days or more (amenorrhea) there are few remaining ovarian follicles.
Androstenedione is the precursor to testosterone production, as well as oestrones and oestradiol which make up oestrogen. While very little is known about the causes of hot flushes (apart from decreased oestrogen production), they may be bought on by stress (the adrenal glands control your stress levels) and even hyperglycaemia (high levels of blood glucose). As a fitness professional, it is important to understand that clients who are having moderate to severe and frequent hot flushes are also experiencing general inflammation in the body. With diaphragmatic weight gain, poor sleep patterns and low energy, what ensues is a jigsaw of metabolic changes that are difficult to isolate.
As fitness professionals, it is important therefore to understand that some women who have exercised regularly in the past and maintained a healthy weight could gain weight as they transition through and into menopause.
There is a host of information about dietary choices available, but without going into too much depth, your symptomatic menopausal client needs to focus on nutrition.
A substantial number of studies of phytoestrogens and isoflavones have been conducted, motivated by epidemiologic data showing differences in menopausal symptoms in countries with different levels of these nutrients in their diets.
Adjust your programming to moderate aerobic exercise, which is proven to reduce blood pressure.
The Women’s Health Study has investigated a number of botanicals on the market in relation to their potential to affect menopausal symptoms. While this article has focused on the physiology of menopause, including strategies for managing it, there also exists a host of qualitative studies that explore the subjective dimension of menopause and what it means to women. By Carolyne AnthonyAs Pilates instructors, we are seeing many more middle-aged women in our classes, and they are an energetic, dynamic group to say the least. GREAT PILATES EXERCISES FOR MENOPAUSAL WOMENSide-Lying FootworkSide-lying exercises are excellent as they really target the gluteal muscle group. Women start out with relatively weak arms, but during this time they see a dramatic loss of the skin tone in the triceps area. References allow you to track sources for this article, as well as articles that were written in response to this article.
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Using an exercise band, dumbbells, the wall and the floor, this workout stretches, tones and conditions the body and helps expand your range of motion. Thanks for the article, Carolyne; I thought that it was really interesting how you talked about the connections between menopause, the body, the mind, and the spirit. The material on this site is for informational purposes only and is not a substitutefor medical advice, diagnosis or treatment provided by a qualified health care provider. By understanding how it affects women in their mid-life years, you can make a difference to how your clients feel, how they look and how they stay healthy. Defined by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as the permanent cessation of menstrual periods that occurs naturally or is induced by surgery, the Greek derivative is men (month) and pausis (cessation). On average, in non-surgical menopause, peri-menopause begins around the late forties and may last up to four years, but it is well known that smokers begin to transition into menopause about three to four years earlier than non-smokers. This cessation of menses is known medically as the climacteric, the end of a woman’s reproductive potential. The overwhelming effect of this is that the amount of oestrogen made begins to decrease significantly. In the younger menstruating female, progesterone is made by the cells of the uterus to ready it for receiving a fertilised egg. The adrenal glands and ovaries each produce about 3mg a day of androstenedione in pre-menopausal women. This is the system that is driven by the adrenal glands through the sympathetic nervous system and controls blood pressure, including the dilation and constriction of blood vessels. Reddening of the face, a sensation of heat and, in some women, profuse sweating, drive many women to despair and, because they commonly occur at night, hot flushes can be a major cause of insomnia.

This makes sense when we think about the adrenal system and the influences of all the endocrine glands as a negative feedback system. Add this inflammation to a poor diet and little or no (or, sometimes, too much) exercise, and you have the accumulation of inflammation in other parts of the body, such as the joints. Although hormone replacement therapy (HRT, which was developed to mitigate the symptoms of hot flushes and night sweats) may help, recent evidence from the Women’s Health Initiative Study linking long-term use to breast cancer has resulted in the use of HRT becoming somewhat curtailed. Two of the main health concerns are to do with the higher risk of cardiovascular disease in post-menopause women, as well as insulin sensitivity and insulin resistance. Low oestrogen has an effect on the sympathetic nervous system, specifically the blood pressure-lowering receptors that control vaso-dilation and calcium channel opening in smooth muscle cells.
It is known to worsen with advancing age and increasing central obesity (diaphragmatic obesity in menopausal women), thereby making it difficult for some women who are already overweight or obese to tease out the effects of menopause.
This is the name given to the cocktail of clinical disorders, including obesity, insulin resistance (the inability of muscle cells to allow insulin to move glucose into them), high blood lipids (hypertriglyceridemia) and high levels of low-density lipoprotein.
Not only does this diaphragmatic weight gain increase their risk of cardiovascular disease three-fold, but low oestrogen also causes the loss of bone-building calcium, thus increasing their risk of developing osteoporosis. Specifically, a Mediterranean-style diet, which is known to be anti-inflammatory, is beneficial. Several studies of soy extracts suggested that they may have some mitigating effect on hot flushes. The ones most popular, but not always evidenced as effective in mitigating hot flushes, seem to be Black Cohosh (Actacea racemosa), Kava (Piper methysticum) for anxiety reduction, Red Clover Leaf (Trifolium pretense) and Ginseng root (Panax ginseng). In addition to exploring the practical strategies outlined above, as their fitness professional you might also reflect on how your female clients feel about their transition through menopause, and talk to them about the support they may require from you at this time of their life. In 2014 she was named Australian Fitness Network’s Author of the Year in recognition of her contribution to the ongoing education and upskilling of fitness professionals. Women today are much more active, informed and focused on their health and fitness than they were several decades ago. She is certified by both Polestar and Physicalmind as a Pilates instructor as well as Yamuna Body Rolling. It addresses all of what Carolyne Anthony talks about as well as what it is like as a teacher to go through perimenopause and menopause.
With the huge decrease in oestrogen levels that occurs at this time, it is no wonder that, for some women, havoc is wreaked on the endocrine (hormonal), psychological and somatic (bodily) systems. This drop in oestrogen (which is quite dramatic in some women, especially those who are already overweight) can often be the start of the chaos that some women experience at this time, both physically and psychologically.
Progesterone is the hormone of pregnancy and in peri-menopause progesterone levels also fluctuate. After menopause, however, the production of androstenedione in the adrenal glands generally halves.
This means no refined foods, high protein (up to 30 per cent of daily intake) and low-glycaemic foods (e.g. If your client has poor sleep patterns, then back off the HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) until she has greater daily energy. However, you should never suggest botanicals to a client without telling her to check with her doctor, as some medications contraindicate botanicals. Many have been exercising for years and are not about to stop now that they are reaching their menopausal years.
Perform these exercises in parallel, lateral rotation and medial rotation to target the whole hip area. Concentrate more on the triceps by doing various different triceps work on the Chair, Reformer, Cadillac and even the mat.
Carolyne is currently on the faculty of Balanced Body University and is the author of several books and DVDs. This is the time when thousands of women may spiral into negative health changes, which may affect how healthy they will continue to be as they age. Although this uneven rising and falling of various hormones can impact hugely on how your client may be feeling at this time of peri-menopause, it is post-menopause that the real health impacts might occur.
These hormones are androstenedione (derived mainly from the adrenal glands, but these do decline with ageing) and testosterone. The impact of this in a post-menopausal body is that a range of symptoms begin to be experienced. Put this alongside diaphragmatic weight gain, and blood pressure starts to rise in post-menopausal women, increasing their risk of heart disease in older age. The change in levels of circulating FSH has been positively correlated with the change in central fat mass.
For others who are having a hard time of it, however, the following strategies may be useful.
While your client may not tell you that she is having difficulty sleeping due to hot flushes and night sweats, it’s your job to at least ask.
While HIIT is well evidenced in assisting in weight management, your menopausal client may have low iron levels, low calcium and magnesium levels and poor thyroid function, as well as high cortisol through lack of sleep. Double Leg LiftsDouble leg lifts on the ladder barrel will work the hip abductors and adductors, important areas for menopausal women to concentrate on.

By no means are these definitive, but they can allow you to empathise with and support your menopausal clients in ways that may make a difference to how they feel, how they look and how they stay healthy. This type of diet supports the maintenance of normal blood glucose levels, keeping insulin secretion by the pancreas low.
A blood profile such as this doesn’t bode well for recovering from HIIT sufficiently. It is interesting to look at some of the symptoms of menopause and how exercise can help alleviate some of them.
In normal ovulation another hormone, luteinising hormone (LH), works in tandem with FSH in oestrogen-producing ovulation. For women who are particularly sensitive to these changes in hormones, it’s not only irritability and depression that set in, but also weight gain around the mid-riff and poor sleep patterns, as well as exhausting hot flushes and night sweats.
By adhering to this way of eating, and drinking sufficient water (at least two litres a day), some women are able to control insulin production, and thereby partially alleviate the severity of hot flushes and night sweats. It is even more interesting to look at the ways in which Pilates can help many of these symptoms.So just what is menopause?
If you are already teaching this group, you know that they are some of the liveliest and funniest people around. Pilates is a mind-body experience just like menopause is, and we can use the philosophy of Pilates to help women through it.
Menopause can be a truly amazing time if they are given the tools necessary to cope with its trials and tribulations. Menopause and the MindWomen tend to experience mood swings, depression, irritability and sleep disturbances, among several other symptoms, during menopause. Moderate-intensity exercise is known to help manage these symptoms, and simple exercises like breathing and stretching are also great stress blasters.
Deep abdominal breathing not only calms and focuses the mind, it helps tone and strengthen abdominal muscles. Sometimes fatigue can be a problem for this group; if so, a session of breathing and stretching along with some simple exercises may help calm and relax them enough to help promote better sleep.
This sort of exercise may be done a few hours before bedtime as it will not boost the metabolism or stimulate the central nervous system as more intense exercise will.Menopause and the Body Collagen is the main protein of connective tissue and is also responsible for skin strength and elasticity. As we age, the ability to rebuild collagen decreases, which leads to wrinkles and sagging skin, as well as decreased muscle tone. If weight gain is a problem, there has to be a concerted effort to reduce the number of calories consumed and increase cardiovascular activity. No amount of abdominal work is going to actually shift the weight in this area without the help of cardio activity and a decrease in caloric input.While most of us are into creating a stress-free environment with gentle exercises and stretching, the truth is that these women need to be worked out hard. It will also rev up the metabolism and keep it turned up for a while after the end of exercising. We need to get them off their backs and moving more, using more resistance and having a whole lot more FUN. They are dealing with the loss of youth, vitality, the ability to bear children and the empty-nest syndrome.
Exercise will serve to make these women feel better, and in doing so they are better able to cope with the madness of menopause.
Most of these women report an opening of the mind and an insatiable desire to learn new things.
These women are strong and confident and are willing to do what it takes to achieve balance in their lives. Start the class with a series of deep breaths to focus and calm the mind and end with more of the same to bring the body back into the center. Start off slow (with breathing and pre-Pilates exercise), increase the level to include some cardio work, sustain this level, and then begin to cool down. Standing and exercising is a good way to train your body to be more functional and stable in your everyday life. If someone has issues standing, have them sit on a stability ball for a challenge without the strain.9. Use stretches between the exercises for rest periods and as a way to stretch the muscles that are now working harder than before.
Stretching increases flexibility, which in turn helps with achieving balance and control over the body.
While it is distressing to begin to lose the shape in this area, it is more than just an esthetic problem.
There is an increased instability in this area from the loss of the muscle and this in turn is responsible for the many falls and fractures that this population begins to see.
Since stabilization of the pelvis is a prime principle of Pilates, this form of exercise becomes important for menopausal women.

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