The MAGIC of Menopause...
What do you think of when you hear the word "menopause"?
How about... Chaos? Madness? Hot flashes? Magic?
(Bet you didn't think we were going to say the word magic, did you?)
Did you know that menopause is only a brief moment in time? It is the moment when you have gone 12-months without a period. It is a *pause*. That is it.
The journey to that *pause* and the journey after that *pause* are what we want to focus on. What if we took the time to appreciate the changes that are happening in our bodies during perimenopause and postmenopause? Menopause doesn't have to be a time of madness and sweaty chaos. It can be magical! (Yes, we said the word magical again...)
We have a lot of life to live before and after we reach the *pause*.
So let's make the most of it!
Do you consider yourself perimenopausal?
Have you been "period free" for 12-months or more and consider yourself postmenopausal?
Do you have unexplained symptoms of anxiety, low sex drive and pain "all over"?
Did you start having bowel or bladder symptoms, out of nowhere!?!?
Do you have concerns about your bone or heart health?
Are you curious to learn more?
So much of what we absorb within our society focuses on what we cannot do. Our goal at OPT is to focus on things that we CAN do. Our goal is to educate and inform.
Knowledge. Is. Power.
Here are a few simple and easy action steps to get you on your way:
Moving our bodies is important for everyone, BUT at this point in our lives, movement should be non-negotiable. The benefits of movement far outweigh the potential risks.
So, what are some ways to move our bodies?
The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes/week for cardiac prevention. So you can get some of those in by taking a brisk walk for 15-20 min, 5-7 days/week. Other ways to spice up your walking routine include:
*HIIT style (i.e. walk for 1 min at fast pace, walk for 1 min at slower pace)
*Walking in nature can help reduce rumination
Flexibility and/or Mobility.
Did you know that trunk flexibility has direct link to arterial stiffness?
*Try backline mobility and thoracic rotations (i.e. thread the needle, half moon hangs)
Our body is all connected by a tissue called 'fascia'. And in order for our fascia to be able to move freely, it needs to stay hydrated, or it starts to dry out and fray. How do you keep you fascia hydrated? MOVEMENT. Specifically dynamic movement that is more restorative, slow, and rhythmical.
*Try Yoga or Tai Chai (also has bone health benefits)
Have you ever thought about your foot health? For every step we take, our foot absorbs the impact and transfers generates force up the chain to propel us forward. And as we go through perimenopause, our estrogen declines, and thus we have an increased risk of foot pain (i.e. plantar fasciitis)
*Try soft tissue mobilization to your foot (see video below)
The research is becoming more clear that strength training, specifically for the menopause transition, is the best bang for your buck as it relates to health and overall function. When performing strength training, we see improvements in bone health, cardiac health, brain health, pelvic health, stress management, and even increased sex drive.
So, how do we incorporate strength into our movement routine?
*Heavy weights (60-80% 1 rep max)
*2 sessions or days per week
*2-3 sets of 7-9 reps
*Slow controlled movements (eliminate momentum)
This is something we love to incorporate with almost every single patient. We tend to take breathing for granted. I mean, we need to breathe to live, right?! BUT, overtime (due to stress, injury, posture, etc) we tend to breathe into our chest and forget about using our most important breathing muscle...
...our diaphragm. Yes, the diaphragm is a muscle. It's actually a dome-shaped muscle that sits under our rib cage. Think "jellyfish". It contracts with each inhale and relaxes with each exhale. Because we may be using our diaphragm less than we should be, we need to exercise that muscle just like any other muscle in our body. We do that by intentionally and mindfully completing a diaphragmatic breath.
Have you ever watched a little kid breathe? They do it with little to no effort. And more importantly, they breathe into their entire abdominal wall. So, why can't we do that as adults?
The saying 'we are what we eat' is absolutely true. The research is clear that what we put in our bodies can fuel our energy, our hormones, our skin health, our gut health, and so much more. Research has also shown that the causes of chronic disease, from arthritis to heart disease to gastrointestinal conditions, are from INFLAMMATORY foods.
Simple things include:
*Drink more water
*Consume alcohol in moderation
*Avoid artificial sweeteners and processed sugar
*Eat more vegetables
When we change how we move AND what we eat, that is when the magic happens!
This is why we created the MenoWell + Movement wellness series. Our goal is to educate on the best movement practices during the perimenopause and menopause transition. Throughout this series you will also be offered information and education about effects of menopause on bone health, heart health, bowel and bladder health, hormones, and more.
It's never too early to start. It's never too late to start.
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