Menopause and Pilates
Fast approaching the age of 52, I feel it’s time to address the subject of menopause! As an instructor, I am fortunate enough to practice Pilates on a regular basis, so I hope this will greatly help reduce any symptoms I may be experiencing!
Pilates classes in general are extremely beneficial for those going through menopause, but even better if tailored more specifically. Certainly the key areas to focus on are increasing muscle strength, bone health, pelvic health, and balance using resistance and weight-bearing exercises. Along with this, it is important to also use Pilates as a way to practice mindfulness. This will greatly help reduce stress levels and balance the mind and body.
In a study of an 8-week beginner Pilates program in the Exercise Rehabilitation Diary and its effect on menopausal symptoms, Pilates has been found to “decrease vasomotor, psychological, and physical symptoms.” He goes on to say that it “has positive effects on menopausal symptoms and helps improve not only physical fitness like balance and flexibility, but also mental fitness.”
Below you will find all the advantages in a little more detail for you… there are quite a few!
The benefits of practicing Pilates during menopause
- Reduces mood swings, anxiety and depression
Mood swings are very common during perimenopause. Stress, lifestyle, and hormones can all contribute to emotional imbalance. Practicing Pilates increases serotonin levels, which helps release our calm and happy hormones! Pilates is also a great form of mindfulness practice, and this can be effectively incorporated into Pilates classes for menopause and extremely valuable.
- Helps reduce aches and pains
Studies have proven that Pilates is excellent for aches and pains as it helps strengthen muscles as well as build endurance and balance them to improve posture.
- May help with brain fog!
Pilates can help with memory and prevent the brain fog that is so familiar during menopause. One of the principles of Pilates is concentration and it will help improve attention and memory by creating new brain cells and neurological pathways.
- Helps reduce stress
Pilates helps calm the nervous system and regulates stress hormones that ease tension in muscles through movement and stretching. Also using the Pilates breathing method (side chest breathing) it activates the parasympathetic nervous system which in turn creates an automatic relaxation response in the body.
- Reduces symptoms of menopause
The National Institute of Health suggests that in their 8-week study of Pilates for Beginners, it can help relieve symptoms and is especially good for hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, and taking weight. Of course, it also helps prevent urinary problems by strengthening the pelvic floor muscles.
- Increases hormone production
Pilates can stimulate hormone production because it improves blood circulation and helps keep your glands working properly. As a calm and relaxing method of exercise, it helps prevent cortisol from shutting down estrogen and progesterone production.
- Improves stability and balance
However, when our estrogen levels drop during menopause, it affects our muscle and bone health. This in turn can put us at risk for posture problems and falls. Pilates will give you more stability during movement.
- Improves quality of life
Finally, Pilates connects the mind and body while improving physical fitness, which in turn increases our quality of life during menopause.
Considering the benefits, Pilates is surely worth a try! If you are not already practicing, contact us and find out the best way to start.