WHO SAID THE MENOPAUSE HAS TO BE BORING?
I’ve worked hard as a personal trainer to have a smoking hot body….
but as I begin freewheeling into the menopause, these hot flushes are
not what I was aiming for when I said smoking hot!!!
I’ve always loved fitness: from professional Dancer to a PT, clinical nutritionist and psychologist with over 20 enjoyable, fulfilling years in the industry.
And yet, as knowledgeable and experienced as I am, nothing prepared me for this rollercoaster I seem to have been strapped into, with no safety checks and without my consent!
How did this happen? I don’t feel old, and I’m certainly not ready for this phase of my womanhood, but Mother Nature (who is supposed to be on our side!!!) has decided at 48, it’s my time to shine, glow, sweat and flush and so, as with every changing phase my body has carried me through, I have decided to embrace it!!
Specialising in women’s health, I have a deep understanding of all the changing phases us women go through and one thing that
seems apparent in all the health and fitness advice I have found relating to menopause, leads to the same conclusion; Eat a healthy
Stay active: DEFINITELY, but most of the advice grouped us as ‘one size fits all’; take it easy, do Pilates, swim, and walk. There was nothing in the advice that truly related to me or my friends. It seemed we were being portrayed as weaker now our bodies were changing, that we are unable to do any significant level of exertion. It’s as if we have reached a sell-buy date and needed protecting and be wrapped in cotton wool!
Just because my body is changing and my baby-making days are ending (my body has blessed me with 4 amazing children), it doesn’t mean my life is over.
I’m not ready to unlace my trainers, not ready to hang up my dancing shoes, give up my sexy undies or discard my ‘live life by the seat of my pants’ ethos.
In fact, I’m hungrier now for adventure, I feel sexier than ever, I feel empowered, I have an irresistible urge for discovery, because I’m older and wiser and I finally understand what’s important in life.
I want to do everything I can to help my body through this weird and wonderful new chapter in the best ways.
Before I go further, I’d like to clarify, I love Pilates, I adore walking and I love swimming! I cannot praise these forms of exercise enough, but why should these be the only activities we can participate in!!
Who said as we get older there should be no fun and no adventure, that doesn’t seem right to me.
Remember when you were a kid, you ran wild, you had no fear of others
opinions, you dressed in crazy clothes because matching rainbow socks with a tutu and a batman mask was normal right??.….you did this because you could..…and you didn’t care!
You didn’t worry if your hair was a mess, you twirled until you were so dizzy. You ran free & wild, simply because it was fun, you wiped your snot on your sleeve, smeared mud on your face and the bruises on your legs were simply trophies from your adventures!
And then, we become adults, and suddenly all of those inhibitions fade, just as fast as the wrinkles begin to appear! And then throw the menopause in to the mix and it all just gets a bit rubbish!
Now I understand that not all women feel this way, and every woman experiences the change in many different ways, it’s a unique journey for each and every one of us.
Some sail through it, not even noticing the minor symptoms, while others suffer in so many ways; the hot flushes, mood swings, brain fog, cramps, depression, restless sleep, loss of libido, bizarre dreams, skin breakouts, sore boobs, the muffin tops, aching legs,
back pain, migraines...the list goes on...and on...and on...and on... (Mother Nature, again, what the hell!!!)
For most though, we will have good days and bad days: days when your jeans fit perfectly and you feel incredible and days when you feel sluggish, unsexy and low.
But we can reduce the down ‘oh no’ days and have more high ‘oh yeah’ days, by improving our health and nutrition. Exercise and being active is beneficial in many ways. When we workout, our body releases happy hormones (the same ones we release when we have sex!)
But instead of your run of the mill fitness regimes, I’ve found a few other options that may suit your wild, crazy warrior woman a little better; go crazy, have fun, be adventurous and most of all, throw caution and conservatism to the wind type stuff!!
So here we go!
When was the last time you carelessly strapped wheels to your feet and freewheeled without a care in the world?
Well last weekend my hubby took me back to my youth after buying me a retro pair of roller boots and it was nothing short of epic!
Granted, I wasn’t as elegant as I was in my teens, but I didn’t care. I looked like a crazy woman, arms and legs flailing, but it gave bystanders a great laugh!
This amazing activity has a true sense of innocence; an awesome cardio workout, improving heart health, strengthening core and leg muscles, it’s cheap and can be done with friends and family in local parks.
Please take precautions; wear suitable protective wear
(unfortunately our bones aren’t as strong as they used to be) but with practice and a carefree attitude, this form of exercise is one that will have you feeling free.
OBSTACLE COURSE RACING
Ok, so I’m a little biased, as an avid OC Racer for12 years. My partner and I are OCR tech trainers and have qualified for the world championships to represent GB.
I have thrown myself off of high things, smothered in mud more times than I can remember.
But this awesome, child-like activity is one that I have seen people of all ages and fitness levels enjoy. From those that take it seriously, competing at world-class level, to groups of women in their matching team shirts and tutus, ambling around courses, giggling manically as they scoop mud out from between their boobs!
The benefits are far-reaching; positive effects of being outdoors to the sheer childlike fun. Build all over strength and fitness, improve stamina and agility,
plus you’ll have a muddy good time and make new friends along the way!
There are many events to choose from but if you’re a beginner try your first
OCR in the summer (the winter races are pretty hardcore) but I promise, once you try it, you’ll be hooked. Or why not raise some money for an amazing cause doing the Cancer Research Pretty Muddy challenge!
Don’t worry if you have two left feet! This is all about having fun!!
There is a huge range to choose from with classes designed for all abilities; improve fitness and all-over strength as well as making new friends
Here are a few of my favourites:
Burlesque: Super sexy style of dancing started in the1800’s, known for its teasing, cheeky moves. It’s simple and enjoyable suitable for all fitness levels, shapes and sizes plus it’s females only.
Build confidence, release inhibitions and can help with the libido issues (by showing your partner all the sexy moves when you get home!)
Jazzercise & Zumba: Again, a great way to embrace your dancing feet and learn new moves, improving heart health and muscle strength, set to great music in a fun and vibrant environment.
Pole dancing & Silks/circus skills: A little more adventurous, this awesome all over body workout is a great way to improve your fitness. Beginners classes are widely available and you will be encouraged to let go of your inhibitions and release your inner sexy goddess.
Ballet & Tap: There is a range of ballet-based classes including Barre which structure all classes around the fundamentals of these classic dance styles. Perfect for those wanting a low impact workout, ideal for total beginners.
BOXING/SELF DEFENCE/ TAI CHI
Another of my favourites; it’s so empowering strapping on a pair of boxing gloves and punching a bag or pads. It’s a great way to learn some self defence moves too. The benefits are far-reaching and even those with limited mobility can participate in this form of exercise, from seated boxing to Tai Chi (a gentle, low paced range of martial arts moves)
Boxing is great for building muscle strength, improving core, enhances coordination and focuses attention, plus relieves stress! Win win!
This is an activity that many women shy away from because they have this idea it’s only for big, muscular men, but don’t be fooled. I’m not talking about strapping on a weights belt and smashing out a world champion level deadlift, but find a good class/personal trainer who can introduce you to a range of moves and weights suitable for your capabilities and you’ll feel amazing! Menopausal women are more prone to osteoporosis and brittle bones. Weight training strengthens muscles as well as building bone density helping avoid skeletal issues. And you won’t end up looking like Arnold Schwarzenegger. Women have less testosterone so can’t build the level of muscle mass men can, but you will build tight, toned limbs and booties that would make the Kardashians jealous!
Another leap back to our youth, with a gentle and low impact form of exercise.
Cycling not only allows you to get out and enjoy our amazing countryside, but you will strengthen legs and core muscles and enjoy a total sense of freedom.
From walking the hills and fells, to visiting a local climbing centre, there’s something very liberating about using your body to scale a rocky face. Good training centres offer beginners classes and you will be able to participate safely with high-quality safety harnesses. Improve, strengthen and tone all over body, boost your core strength and find a whole new sense of empowerment as you soar higher!
Menopause has, for many years, been rarely spoken about, with a lack of support and understanding.
But finally, the advice and support is growing, with it, comes a
whole new dynamic for us menopausal bunch, and it’s so positive to see and be part of.
For me, I plan to embrace this exciting new chapter of my journey and with it, I intend to find out how much more my body can achieve and share my knowledge.
So go crazy, let your hair down, have fun and feel like the sexy, strong empowered woman you are!
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