The menopause is a transformational time in every woman’s life, when our bodies must face a variety of physical and psychological challenges. As we battle hormonal fluctuations, loss of bone density, and issues such as weight gain and insomnia, it is no surprise that many women are looking for ways to feel better during this difficult and challenging period in their lives.
Many of our clients are surprised when they find out just how beneficial light resistance exercise can be, and in this guide, we will take a closer look at the benefits of Reformer Pilates for perimenopause and menopausal women.
What is Reformer Pilates and what are the benefits?
Reformer Pilates is a light resistance form of exercise which is practiced by people of all ages and fitness levels. Its aim is to both maintain and restore movement, reduce stiffness in the body, help remove aches and pains and restore balance through light resistance low impact, controlled movements.
Although they say, ‘age is just a number’, our muscles and bones are very different in our later years compared to the bodies we had in our 20’s, and Pilates offers a safe and very effective way to exercise.
Unlike some forms of exercise which work certain parts of our bodies, while other parts are not worked at all, Pilates uses targeted movements that encourage parts of your body to work in harmony. These practised movements will build flexibility and strength, and mobility, without high impact movements
that may cause increase joint pain or urinary leakage for some.
How can Reformer Pilates help menopausal women?
The symptoms of perimenopause can begin years before your periods stop, which is when you enter menopause. How long the symptoms last varies from person to person, depending on a variety of reasons. Common symptoms include mood swings, hot flushes, weight gain, depression, anxiety, sleeplessness, joint and muscle stiffness, and a host more, but with this small few it is only natural that woman are looking for the best ways to alleviate these challenging symptoms.
If you know how to tackle the effects of menopause, it is possible to turn this challenging time into an exciting and transformational time for your body, and Reformer Pilates is a great exercise choice to help with joint stiffness, weight gain, depression, sleeplessness, anxiety. The very principles of Pilates are concentration, control, breathing, flow, centering and precision. These principles are extremely beneficial for women going through menopause or perimenopause. The following are just some of the ways which Reformer Pilates can help both peri- menopausal and post-menopausal women.
• Stress reduction – Some women struggle with stress, depression, and anxiety during menopause, however the breathing techniques within Pilates can help women to focus and remain grounded. It is only natural for our emotions to suffer as our bodies try to handle hormonal imbalances, but the serotonin boost you will get from Pilates will soon help you to feel happy and calm.
• Reduced aches and pains – If your joints are aching when you get out of bed in the morning, Pilates will help relieve this symptom by strengthening your muscles thereby improving mobility and movement.
Many of our menopausal clients suffer from backache, shoulder, hip and knee pain, which often stops them from being able to fully enjoy their life. However, we can create a programme that targets specific areas of the body, so you will soon be back to your daily activities be it playing golf or Tennis or playing with your children or grandchildren.
• Increased flexibility – Maintaining flexibility and coordination is essential as our bodies begin to age, especially as hormonal changes can impact our bodies’ usual capabilities. Many of the movements within Reformer Pilates will require you to engage your core while moving other limbs, not only will these movements help to build strength and stabilise your spine, but you will also benefit from improved balance and flexibility.
• Improved self-confidence – Reformer Pilates is a form of exercise which needs patience and practice, and when you achieve your Pilates goals you will find a new sense of self-confidence in the capabilities of your body.
If you have spent many years putting others first, now is the time of your life to really take care of your body, improve your health and build the confidence you deserve.
• Boost hormone production – One of the most important benefits Reformer Pilates will provide is the stimulation of hormones, which will help to relieve many of the symptoms of menopause. By improving blood circulation, reducing stress, and helping to manage oestrogen and progesterone production, you will see improvements in problems such as hot flushes, mood swings and weight gain.
• Improved bone health – At perimenopause & into menopause, oestrogen levels in women’s bodies decline, which affects bone density. However, the resistance training in Reformer Pilates will help to slow these effects by supporting bone health, building muscle, and improving strength, which could help to prevent issues such as osteoporosis.
• Improved energy and better sleep – These are no doubts that menopause is a tiring part of our lives, however Pilates will improve energy levels and help to prepare you for this new phase of your life. In addition, many women struggle with insomnia during menopause, which is often linked to high stress levels as the levels of cortisol and adrenaline rise in our bodies. Practicing Reformer Pilates will help to flush your lymphatic system, relieve tension, and prevent the brain fog which may be keeping you up at night.
The menopause can take its toll on women, both physical and mentally, and for many of our clients it is often the first time in their lives that they have really taken their health seriously. If you are feeling older than your years and are looking for a way to stay fit, active, healthy, and strong, our Reformer Pilates could offer a safe and effective form of exercise, not to mention being a great place to socialise and meet other like-minded women!
Here at Finesse Movement, we are committed to providing classes which are tailored to the exact needs of our clients, which is why we offer small group sessions, semi private Pilates or Clinical Pilates which is one to one to suit your needs. Our experienced instructors will take you through everything you need to know, and the classes will move forward at a pace which is suited to your abilities.