The Menopause and Pilates
Now fast approaching the age of 52, I feel it is time to address the topic of the Menopause! As an instructor I am lucky enough to be practicing Pilates regularly and therefore hopeful that this will greatly help to reduce the symptoms I may experience!
Pilates classes in general are extremely beneficial to those going through the Menopause, but even better if they are tailored more specifically. The key areas to concentrate on are certainly to increase muscular strength, bone health, pelvic health, and balance using resistance and weight bearing exercises. Alongside this it’s important to also use Pilates as a means of practicing mindfulness. This will greatly help to reduce stress levels and balance the mind and body.
In a study of an 8 week beginner Pilates programme in the Journal of Exercise Rehabilitation and its effect on Menopausal symptoms it was found that Pilates ‘decreased vasomotor, psychological and physical symptoms.’ It goes on to say that it ‘has positive effects on Menopausal symptoms and that it helps to improve not only physical fitness like balance and flexibility but also mental fitness.’
Below are all the benefits in a little more detail for you…there are quite a few!
The benefits of practicing Pilates during the Menopause
- Reduces mood swings, anxiety, and depression
Mood changes are very common during the Perimenopause. Stress, lifestyle, and hormones can all contribute to emotional imbalance. Practicing Pilates boosts serotonin levels which helps to release our calm and happy hormones! Pilates is also an excellent form of practicing mindfulness, and this can be brought effectively into Pilates classes for the Menopause and extremely valuable.
- Helps reduce aches and pains
Studies have proved that Pilates is great for aches and pains as it helps to strengthen muscles as well as build endurance, and balance in them to improve Posture.
- Can help with brain fog!
Pilates can help with memory and prevent the brain fog that is so familiar during the Menopause. One of the principles of Pilates is Concentration and this will help to improve attention and memory by creating new brain cells and neurological pathways.
- Helps to reduce stress
Pilates helps to calm the nervous system and regulates stress hormones that ease tension in muscles through movement and stretching. By also using the Pilates Method of Breathing (Lateral Thoracic Breathing) it activates the parasympathetic nervous system which in turn creates an automatic relaxation response in the body.
- Reduces Menopausal symptoms
The National Institute of Health suggests that in their 8-week beginner study of Pilates it can help to ease symptoms and is particularly good for hot flushes, night sweats, mood swings and weight gain. Of course, it also helps to prevent urinary problems by strengthening the pelvic floor muscles.
- Increases hormone production
Pilates can stimulate hormone production as it improves blood circulation and helps to keep your glands working well. As a calm and relaxing exercise method it helps to prevent cortisol from stopping oestrogen and progesterone production.
- Improves stability and balance
When our oestrogen levels do drop during the Menopause though, it affects our muscle and bone health. This in turn can put us at risk of postural problems and falling. Pilates will provide you with more stability during movement.
- Improves quality of life
Finally, Pilates connects the mind and body as well as improving fitness, which in turn increases our quality of life during the Menopause.
Given the benefits surely Pilates is worth a try! If you are not practicing already do get in touch and find out the best way to get started.