We’re pleased to support many of our wonderful clients through the menopause across our two clinics.
Menopause is a natural life stage which there is a complete, or near-complete, ovarian follicular depletion of a female’s ovaries and loss of ovarian follicular activity, resulting in the permanent cessation of her menstrual cycle (Erbil 2018). It occurs usually between the ages of 40 and 60 at a median age of 51.4 years according to the ACOG. There are two types, physiological and pathological. In physiological menopause, spontaneous progressive decline of the menstrual cycle due to the decline of ovarian function, between the ages of 40-51 can be divided into
- Premature (before the age of 40)
- Artificial (due to medical treatment such as chemotherapy or pelvic radiation therapy
- Delayed (after the age of 51) (Faubion et al. 2015).
Menopause causes changes to your body. Personal experiences differ, but some symptoms you might experience may include hot flushes difficulty on managing weight, joint aches and pains, bladder/bowel loss and reduced sexual pleasure.
Women reach peak bone mass around the age of 25 to 30 years, when the skeleton has stopped growing and bones are at their strongest and thickest. Oestrogen, plays an important role in maintaining bone strength which drops around the time of menopause, which occurs on average at the age of 50 years, resulting in increased bone loss. Research suggests that about one in two women over the age of 60 years will experience at least one fracture due to osteoporosis.
Exercise & Menopause
Despite the physiological changes, menopause should not be viewed as a sign of decline, but rather a start of a good health program including lifestyle changes in diet and exercise (Fritz 2011).
Exercises that can help in building and maintaining the bone density and mass can be divided into two categories:
- Bodyweight Bearing, High Impact or Low Impact
- Resistance / Strength-based Conditioning (Mishra, Mishra and Devanshi 2011).
In my opinion as a qualified Physiotherapist, High Impact exercises (such as dancing, high impact aerobics, running / jogging, jumping rope, stair climbing, and sports) are not suitable for individuals with osteoporotic, low bone mass and frailty. However, Low Impact (such as walking, elliptical training machines, stair step machines) and Strength-based Conditioning or Resistance Training exercises (such as gym resistance bands or weight machines for exercise can build a considerable amount of strengthening on the surround muscles which they will work as an absorber for the bones.
Let’s go through a few good examples of useful resistance exercises that can strengthen really important muscle groups safely:
The Squat to Press using a resistance band is beneficial to strengthen the thighs and other muscles of the legs and lower back. This is one of my ‘must-do’ exercises when helping ladies in the clinic rehab studio. Looks simple but gives a great all over effect. Strength, tone and calorie burning – I love it!
Another good example which ladies in our clinic love doing is Lateral Band Walks. Doing this Low Impact exercise really engages many of the deep muscles that stabilize the pelvis. There is a double benefit with this exercises as performing it as part of a warm up can improve hip, foot, and ankle stability as well as knee joint stabilization.
One super upper-body exercise is the kneeling bicep curl. By curling from the knees and pausing, you reduce the tendency to sway your back and swing the weights up, as you might do when standing. This means you perform a stricter set that really makes you focus on the biceps.
Did you know that we offer 1-1 Rehab Sessions at our Physio clinic in South Farm Road? All clients across our Chiropractic and Physio clinic benefit from a 50% discount, just £20 for a fully personalised rehab programme with 1-1 instruction. A take-home workout is included with each programme, and we focus on continual progression, keeping you strong for life. Rehab sessions take one hour and can be booked at our clinic reception.
Dimitrios – Physiotherapist at Beach House Chiropractic 360.
Fritz MA, Speroff L. Clinical Gynaecologic Endocrinology and Infertility. 8th ed. Philadephia: Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins; 2011. Menopause and the Perimenopausal Transition; pp. 673–748
Mishra N, Mishra VN, Devanshi. Exercise beyond menopause: Dos and Don’ts. J Midlife Health. 2011 Jul;2(2):51-6. doi: 10.4103/0976-7800.92524. PMID: 22408332; PMCID: PMC3296386
Erbil N. Attitudes towards menopause and depression, body image of women during menopause. Alexandria Journal of Medicine. 2018;54(3):241–6
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Menopause: Resource Overview. Available from https://www.acog.org/Womens-Health/Menopause
Faubion SS, Kuhle CL, Shuster LT, Rocca WA. Long-term health consequences of premature or early menopause and considerations for management. Climacteric. 2015 Jul 4;18(4):483-91.