In order for women to navigate their way through the menopause we need to fulfill a number of physical and wellbeing needs, which I call the ‘Principles of a Happy Pause’. These help women gain optimal health and help them feel confident and fabulous.
The Principle of a Happy Pause #1 – Good pelvic health
We tend to think of the pelvic floor just when we are pregnant or after having a baby. But changes occur to the pelvic floor before, during and after the menopause. You may have seen ads for products (such as pads or creams etc) targeted at women in their midlife because they may be experiencing the some of following:
- vaginal dryness or pain
If you have noticed any changes to your pelvic health and this includes bladder and bowel health then see your GP and book in to see a Women’s Health Physio who will be able to assess you and provide you with an action plan. We are told that leaking etc is normal (because we are a woman and may have had a baby at some point) but it’s not.
Common, yes, normal, no and there is help out there.
The Principle of a Happy Pause #2 – Breathing
This is where I start with any client but breathing properly is an important foundation of good health. It can help strengthen pelvic floor. It can help you connect with your body and it can help you de-stress and downtrain the nervous system. Continued stress for any body (and especially the menopausal body) can be detrimental to health and breathing or activities such as yoga, pilates, meditation are wonderful in promoting relaxation and also increasing flexibility, which also decreases with age and can lead us to feeling tired and stiff.
The Principles of a Happy Pause #3 – Strength training
Strength training is brilliant for bone health and building and maintaining lean muscle mass. Both of which decline with age. Start with bodyweight and gradually increase the load.
I also find strength training a fantastic way to improve co-ordination and get the brain working, particularly with more complex moves.
The Principles of a Happy Pause #4 – Cardio
Heart disease is a huge issue for the midlife woman so adding cardio into your daily activities can help prevent heart disease and improve your health. It doesn’t have to be structured and could be as simple as walking each day (driving less!) or dancing around the kitchen with the radio on (OK, just me on that one!).
The Principles of a Happy Pause #5 – Balance
Balance in terms of stability and being able to stand on one leg but also balance in terms of life. It’s easy to allow our lives to become dominated just by one thing and if it is, allow yourself to say ‘No’ sometimes. Exercise and diet should not be purgatory and all consuming but let movement and eating well become your self care. Find that happy balance between what you do for others and what you do for yourself.
The Principles of a Happy Pause #6 – Nutrition & Gut health
Nutrition during this stage of life should support the systems in your body – especially the endocrine system. Poor nutrition and lifestyle (stress, lack of sleep etc) can cause a cascade of hormones which can negatively impact your health. Fall in love with eating well to nourish your body and eat real food (no short term crash diets or awful milkshake diets/magic cleanses etc!!).
Society leads us to believe that the menopause is the end of our vitality, our energy or our desire to look and feel amazing. But these are also women’s power years and by using the principles of a happy pause we can help women feel great and re-ignite their energy and confidence. If you are a female aged 40+ or you are experiencing/have experienced the menopause and would like to feel great and achieve your goals, then do get in touch.