Does The Menopause Affect Our Exercise?
In this week’s show I have Becky Armstrong on who is a menopause expert and we discuss how menopause can affect our lives, health and exercise.
Things we cover:
- What is menopause and what age does it tend to occur?
- What’s happening to our bodies during menopause?
- What signs and symptoms do people tend to have?
- Does the menopause affect pilates and exercise in general?
- The biggest health concerns following the menopause.
- The benefits of pilates and exercise during menopause.
- Lifestyle changes to consider during menopause to remain healthy.
About Becky Armstrong
Becky is a degree educated women’s health specialist acupuncturist. She has been working in women’s health for very close to 20 years due to having a love of women that are going through menopause. As well as running an acupuncture clinic Becky is also the founder of a startup called clarity, which is a mindfulness relaxation and sleep app for women that are getting ready for going through menopause.
Full Transcription (excuse typos)
So welcome to this week’s polities for busy people weekly show. This week. I have Becky Armstrong on who is that menopause expert. So Becky, welcome to the show.
Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m a degree educated women’s health specialist, acupuncturist. I have been working in women’s health for very close to 20 years, which is kind of embarrassing, but, but I have a dear love of women that are going through menopause. I’m the founder. Now my job is I still have an acupuncture clinic, but it’s a very slow, quiet one. Because I’m a full time founder of a startup called clarity, which is a mindfulness relaxation and sleep app for women that are getting ready and going through menopause.
What age does menopause tend to occur?
So the average age is 51. But having said that menopause was it, there’s got to be a clarification of what menopause means. So I’m going to pause is the first day of the last period you have and you only know that that is the last period you have after one year. So it’s it’s actually just one day it’s like a happy birthday. But like a lot of things that are women and and span ecological health related. There’s a lot of sort of misunderstanding. So the actual perimenopause before your period actually finishes. You can go for up to seven to 10 years before you actually go through menopause. And then can you can still get some symptoms after your period is finally finished.
And that’s probably another episode actually perimenopausal because yeah, the money changes.
Yes, a lot of things happening. Perhaps we should have done that first. Anyway. Nevermind.
I don’t know how. How many people really, I don’t know how many people understand the medicals, let alone the Paramount, perimenopausal state. So yeah, perhaps that’s what we need to do. So what and again, as I said earlier, I know it’s different for everyone, but what are the sort of main things that tends to happen to our bodies when we go into the menopause, so what it is, is the slowing down to the end of the eggs that you can release. So the body is structured in a way that you’ve got hormones from the pituitary gland, right the way down into your ovaries, that can actually help create the eggs, release the eggs, get your uterine lining, moving, and then give you a period if you’re not pregnant. So what it is, is the decline of the egg state, and that will cause a hormone fluctuation as things are ending because estrogen is released out of the ovaries and a few other places, but mainly the ovaries.
So what sort of signs and symptoms do people tend to tend to have?
I mean, again, it’s different for everyone it is different for everyone. So there’s 32, mainly classified menopausal symptoms, which seems like a lot, but it doesn’t. The main things are, you don’t get all of them. They don’t all stay. And they can come and go and the severity and frequency difference for everyone, but the main ones are the ones that people know. anxiety, depression, hot flashes, night sweats, you can get a thinning of your hair and your nails start getting a bit thinner. You get sleeplessness, and you can get heart palpitations. And and the one that they don’t talk about the most is vaginal dryness and vaginal atrophy, which is the violent the muscles of the vagina not getting the blood and the estrogen and moisture that they need. And it seizes up a bit. So because and that also has a vaginal dryness. So that’s one that’s very, very common, but not spoken of. And it but it’s interesting because I in the menopause and have been for a while. And one of the things I obviously didn’t know much about it when I went to do it. And I had the heart palpitations, and I hadn’t heard that one before. And that is the one that caused me anxiety, because I was like I’m having a hard time. Yeah,yeah. Yeah.
You have to remember in that, that, that we’re also busy. And these are just everyday symptoms that everybody can have. It’s just that you have them a bit more squash together. And a bit more severe. But But I think there’s a lot that people don’t know, and they won’t, because they are getting their period, because they think menopause is the period of suffering, and they don’t know what is happening. You just think you’re going crazy. And, and the world is just changing. You just don’t feel like yourself. And that’s the most common thing is just don’t feel like yourself. Everything that used to work. no longer works, right.
So yeah, I’m on and again, I’ve had quite a lot of experience with just my mood changing and everything and just been horrible. Which one was obviously not horrible. But you know, it was that thing that got the most to me, it was just my moods and how I was reacting to people. So I think if you think about a teenager, and when they’re getting their period, a young girl getting her period, and how crazy that time is bad looking after your parents looking after kids having a busy job that is probably in management, running a half trying to be nice to a partner, we need to give ourselves a break. If you put a little teenager yet in that sort of scenario, boom, you know, all the sudden you kind of like, Oh, this that is like the end?
And again, I hadn’t really thought about that, because you forget all that. So that’s a long time ago. Yeah.
So one of the things that so obviously, I’m interested in politics and exercise, so does the monopoles effect. But how does it affect exercise? Generally, do you think we activation is one of the things that I sort of noticed is my lack of it? Sometimes, I am absolutely the lack of motivation. Because you don’t feel good, it’s very hard to go and do something that sometimes you know is going to hurt or you know, is going to be harder. The recommendations, and the recommendations for when you’re getting ready and going through menopause is that you have to go from a higher cardio to a more weight bearing sort of exercise. So ladies is brilliant for that. He can do yoga, still like, and also weightlifting. And you’ve got to understand that your body’s changing in the needs change. So osteoporosis is one of the biggest risk factors cardiovascular risk of stroke and heart attack and osteoporosis and the biggest things that we have to worry about after our periods of finished, so and you don’t care about that when you do it. But as you’re going through weight bearing exercises are brilliant for us your process. Yeah, so something like bloody so or weight bearing exercises like dead-lifting, or even just using resistance bands of very, very good to help the muscles work properly towards the bone health.
Yeah, and there’s one thing it’s interesting, actually, because I have a variation of people in my classes from from young to old. And it is interesting when I start doing, you know, like tricep dips with them and things like that, and they don’t like it. But it’s like, this is really important for you. Yeah, to keep your bone strength and things like that. And it and again, again, that’s another show osteoporosis and the effects. But it’s just so important. And women don’t like to think that they can do weights, because they think they’re going to build muscles and things like that. And it’s the whole concept.
And it’s just so so important. So important to bust that myth. I mean, the ones that, that the weightlifting, you know, the girls that go out and do those competitions, not have a lot of weight that they’re doing. Yeah, not about that. It’s slow, it’s regular, it’s consistent. And it’s and you don’t, you won’t get the big muscles unless you really try hard and change your diet and do all of those kinds of things. But it’s um, it definitely helps you move the the, it lifts your mood. But also, there’s a couple of things in there also, being part of groups as well can help with socialization and healthy mood, but they endorphins that you get post exercise and feel good knowing that you’ve done something good for yourself. And it can be beaten.
No. And that’s a really, really good point, actually, because one of the questions that I was going to ask was, does it have a positive effect on how we go through the menopause? And actually, it does, doesn’t it? And yeah, yeah, she says socialization. And all that is really, really important.
So there’s, there’s so many things that exercise can do for you, and then very well researched. And especially as you age, it is so important not to let your self care go. And if you haven’t had it before, get it, we’re allowed to put the oxygen mask on ourselves. Yeah, but you will feel better, you will look better your blood and your energy will move. And so you won’t get stuck in, it’s a very nice little thing in Chinese medicine, they, they always say, if your head is stuck, move your body, it’s a really nice little way to kind of say, like, do your exercise because it gets you out of a bad mental state, you have to think about something, your blood and energy is moving and you get the endorphin rush. So it is I can’t recommend exercise high enough.
And I love that statement.
But I love it. Because actually, one of the things I go on about all and all the time is that you just need to move right. And especially if you sit at a desk all day, you need to move, and we did a video earlier, which I’ll I’ll put up to, for people to watch it. So it was the physio about the effects of what happens on your body. And this is not with the minor medicals. But what happens to your muscles and stuff if you sit and don’t move all day?
Yeah, but the other thing is, and what I’ve noticed, I’ve just recorded someone with an executive coach, and she says, If she takes her clients outside and goes for a walk, the clearness of their mind, they’re more honest. And it just everything just starts to sort of come together.
Yeah, it’s funny, because I have worked for a few years, in fast growth startups to get some training in tech. And I took everybody for a walk, and we had to have discussions. And there’s, there’s a good reason for that apart from getting out and breathing. But you’re not sitting there looking at each other. So it’s non non confrontational. And people will open up when you do that, I think that’s terrific. I think it’s also worth remembering that you don’t have to go fast. You it’s not about going fast. And you can run if you want, but it’s not cardio, its its impact that you need. Slow, regular, inconsistent. Yeah, so walking is so but it’s a thing. And actually, you know, people don’t think calamities, which, you know, you’ve mentioned before, is sort of weight bearing exercise, but it’s it is and you know, strengthening the muscles, which will have an impact on the bone. So it’s really, so. So do you think there is enough? out there? I know the answer to this before I ask. Do you think people stop exercising because they’re going through the menopause and they just think that’s not what I’m going to do. And it’s harder to lose weight. And it’s harder to do this because I’m now the certain age.
And I think that there’s going to be a lot more evidence that comes out to disprove those theories. So stuck mind stuck body so of course he self to go and have a move and even start with the walk. But definitely look towards getting getting your exercise in. And if you can do it with a group, if you can’t just do it. Yeah. But the way things very interesting, there, it is known that there is a change in your gut, in the in the floor of your gut as you age. And so the foods that you can tolerate before you can no longer tolerate it is we do with the changing estrogen we do get a bit of weight around our hips. But a lot of it is that we’re not moving, we’re not eating the right food, we’re not adapting to the changes of our body and making the lifestyle changes. So you don’t have to put on weight, it does change, but you need to change with it. And unfortunately sugars gonna go anything that is nice and that you want either going to be bad for you. And it’s just so unfortunate.
But it causes inflammation. And the biggest thing that I noticed is alcohol. There’s a one my take. And also that if I drink like a weekend I tend to have a drink and the night sweats for me just become intolerable.
Yeah, I am, I realized that I couldn’t drink white wine at night. Because I was waking up my bones eight I wasn’t it wasn’t so much that I was winning my burns eight and I thought I’m going to die my bone eight. But wine is, you know, it’s we don’t have in society a very good way to relax and socialize without alcohol. And it is hard for people because I still have a drink. I don’t drink beer. But I still like to have a drink. But there’s not very many, unless you’re going to take maybe weed. If it’s legal in in the places that you’re watching. There’s not many ways and alcohol is trying to get you out of your head a little and force you into a relaxation. And that’s the same as what we will do. Or you could Yeah, that’s it that even though you know, there’s not very many things you can do, you can go and have a bath, you can go and do those kind of things. But socially, there’s not a lot that you can do. And I go out drink water. But the pressure that you get when you’re drinking water, and sometimes I don’t want to drink water. But I try I go on call a lot because I still go and help lady ladies delivered babies. So I’m a doula. So I go on, I put myself on calls so that I can drink. It would wait for me to do that little detox, but it’s, it’s tough. It’s I don’t have an answer for that one. And it isn’t good for you that there’s nothing good about it other than the instant effect of relaxation.
So I think we’ve covered lots of things here. And we could go we could carry on with this. And I know and I and I hope people got some questions that you know, and if you do, just put them in the comments below, because I think it is a it’s a big subject that’s not talked about. But I think the thing that I have got the most out of this is the one we need to exercise more, because that’s going to give us the good things and help with our mood and also with the effects of what’s happening, sort of hormone wise. But also, I think it’s how we’ve got to adjust. I love this, that we’ve got to adjust ourselves with our eating and everything else to how our bodies adjusting and I and again, I don’t think I’ve heard that before. And that’s quite an impact on me. So thank you for that.
It’s that lifestyle changes are hard. So take it one day at a time and do one thing at a time. Don’t try and make the changes altogether, because it won’t, it won’t but know why you’re doing it and give yourself a really good pat on the back when you do something. And how you feel and so No, that’s brilliant. Any, I think we probably need to end it there. Thanks. Thank you so much for coming on. And we’ll put the links below for where people can contact you. And thank you very much for joining us.
Lovely to meet you Louise. All right. Thank you. Bye