“It’s a time of transition,” says pelvic-floor specialist Jane Wake. “It affects women both physically and mentally.” But, despite a large number of women saying exercise has helped their symptoms, many have actually cancelled plans to get moving because of them.
Simple workouts to ease menopause symptoms
1. Stretch away insomnia
Trouble sleeping? You’re not alone. Many menopausal women experience this issue.
“A stretching routine, such as Pilates, can reduce tension and create a sense of deep relaxation in the body, which is more conducive to slumber,” says health coach Mary Nash, who works with women struggling with menopausal symptoms.
2. Bounce to boost bone health
During and after menopause, women lose essential bone density.
Exercise that uses your body weight can reverse the decline. Jump on the spot, do press-ups against a wall, or squeeze a tennis ball while you watch TV. Plus, standing on one leg for one minute, three times a day, will strengthen hips.
3. Yoga to benefit low libido
Are you one of the many women who say menopause has affected their sex drive?
“Certain yoga poses can increase circulation to the pelvic area, improving arousal,” says Mary. “Stretches around the inner thighs can create a sense of openness, while deep tension release in and around the hips can ensure greater intimacy. There’s even the Kama Sutra Eagle pose, which drives blood flow to the cervix.”
For more information on how yoga can help with menopause symptoms, or to find a yoga therapist near you, visit Art Of Living.
4. Walk for hot flushes and anxiety
Reduced oestrogen levels cause hot flushes.
“If you’re feeling stressed, you’re more likely to get them,” warns Mary. “Walking can help to calm the mind and body. Running can also make a difference but, for some women, it can make them feel worse. Or try dancing, HIIT (high-intensity interval training), swimming (if you have a hot flush you won’t feel it in the cool water!), or team sports, but make sure it’s something you really enjoy and can fit in regularly.”
5. The lift to stop incontinence
Bladder weakness can be really embarrassing, but is common.
“Over 50% of all women experiencing menopause suffer from urge or stress urinary incontinence,” says Jane. But your pelvic floor can return to its former glory. Try doing this exercise several times a day.
Imagine your pelvic floor is a lift. Pull up a little (20%) – that’s the first floor – then a little more to the second floor (40% effort), and so on until you reach the fifth floor. Then lower back down, stopping at each floor.
6. Meditate for mood swings
“Mood swings occur when our thoughts are all over the place – we never know if we’re going to be positive or down in the dumps,” says Mary.
Practising how to meditate can really help. “It’s a process of learning to focus. It can help to settle these fluctuations and, with a better understanding of our thoughts, it can reduce the mood swings.” For more information, go to headspace.com.
An electronic pelvic toner sends currents to muscles, contracting and releasing them for you. Try the Kegel8 Ultra 20 Electronic Pelvic Toner, R4299.
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