Looking around at the fitness classes that are available to me at 47, there appears to be a big jump from standard classes to silver surfer classes with not much in between. So I have created a Pilates class that I would like to attend!
Pilates for Wise Women is a class for 40+ women who are looking to exercise regularly but are aware their energy levels can fluctuate in your menopausal years. This class is proactively looking at what you need to be healthy in the future. I have written about proactive exercise and healthy ageing extensively in my book The Menopause Diaries.
The Pilates class includes core strength exercises to help flatten your tum and strengthen your back muscles. We also layer in the following:
In the UK, one in three women over 50 may be affected by low bone density or osteoporosis. There are many reasons for this. Lowering hormone levels during the menopause can cause this as well as a sedentary lifestyle and an unhealthy diet.
Strengthening bones through exercise occurs with weight training. As most Pilates classes take place lying on a mat it doesn’t strengthen hip and leg bones although the upper body can be with weight bearing exercises in 4 point kneeling. Performing exercises in standing such as lunges can help to strengthen hip and leg bones.
Following on from Bone health, osteoporosis is not a problem in everyday life unless you fall over and break something. Therefore, working on balance and avoiding falling is a simple way to help prevent this. From a confidence point of view, it is much easier to work on when you are healthy rather than when you are worried about falling over.
Balance has also been an indicator in Alzheimer’s and improving your balance is improving your brain.
Learning something new is good for the health of your brain. Combine that with exercises that have a coordination element and your Pilates class is helping to improve brain cognitively and well as your strengthening your body.
We spend a few minutes at the end with some relaxing breathing. Menopausal women become more sensitive to stress. Excess stress hormones are stored around your abdomen, which is often quite stubborn and hard to shift. Taking the time to relaxing will help reduce stress hormones.
The class is Edinburgh based (click here to book in) but please take some inspiration into your own exercise practice.
Samantha Valand is the author of “The Menopause Diaries: A practical guide to healthy eating and exercising in your menopausal years”. You can find out more about her book here.