Menopause and Stiffness
Stiffness is one of the many menopausal symptoms that women feel as they head through the menopause.
Menopause can bring about joint and muscle stiffness. This is often due to hormonal changes, particularly a decrease in oestrogen levels. Oestrogen has a protective effect on joint health and can help maintain the flexibility and lubrication of joints. As oestrogen levels decline during menopause, women may experience an increase in joint discomfort and stiffness.
While aging certainly plays a part in this transformation, we need not lay the blame solely at its doorstep. We know menopause causes changes in oestrogen levels, causing fluctuations and, in many cases, a sharp decline. Consequently, women lose the consistency of benefits that oestrogen usually brings. Statistics reveal that around 40% of women suffer with joint pain and stiffness during peri and post-menopausal phases.
Sleep disturbances are common during menopause, and poor sleep can exacerbate feelings of stiffness. Insufficient sleep can lead to muscle tension and discomfort.
HRT can help many menopausal symptoms, but you might still experience some.
Stiffness can be alleviated with movement not every now and again but regular consistent movement.
Regular Pilates practise can help.
How Pilates helps with menopause and stiffness
Focus on Core Strength:
Pilates places a strong emphasis on building core strength. A strong and stable core supports good posture, which in turn can help prevent stiffness and discomfort. When your core muscles are engaged and functioning well, it can facilitate better overall body mobility.
Pilates exercises engage a variety of muscle groups throughout the body, not just the core. This helps to balance muscle development and prevent imbalances that can lead to inflexibility.
Stretching and Range of Motion:
Many Pilates exercises involve stretching and lengthening the muscles. This can improve your range of motion and increase flexibility. Regular practice of these exercises can help you maintain or increase your flexibility over time.
Pilates is a low-impact exercise method, which means it’s gentle on the joints. This allows people of all fitness levels, including those with joint issues, to practice and improve their mobility without the risk of high-impact activities.
Pilates can be adapted to suit individual needs and abilities. Instructors can modify exercises to accommodate varying levels of flexibility and mobility. This customisation ensures that people can progress at their own pace without overstraining themselves.
Now this is the big one, like any form of exercise, consistency is key. Regular practice of Pilates exercises can gradually increase flexibility and mobility over time reducing menopause and stiffness symptons.
If you already practise Pilates regularly then you will know this!
The Pilates for Runners membership
As runners we like to lace up the trainers and head out, but warming up our bodies is even more important as we head through the menopause, loosening up those muscles helps for a more enjoyable run.
Try this short warm up before you head outside.
Do each exercise 5 to 10 times before moving on to the next one and don’t forget to repeat on the opposite side.
Pilates will improve your mobility and flexibility, but it will vary from person to person, because we all have different physiology and consistency of practise (there I go again!)
So why not give it a go, try this video every day for a week, before a run or when you get up in the morning and see how you feel, I know if I don’t move regularly, I feel it.