I recently did a collaboration with the amazing Hot Flush to talk about what exercise women should be doing in menopause, and also to film some content for them. The full blog and videos are here but this is what I had to say…
Baz says: “Unless you want to do Pilates, aqua, or falls prevention there’s not really much out there for the over 50s. Now there is nothing at all wrong with Pilates or aqua – but it shouldn’t be all that’s on offer and these sessions are just not enough to help create bodies which are strong for life.”
“My approach to women is holistic. I’m an ex GB rower and so like to work women hard but in the right way with breathing, connection throughout the body and technique at the centre of everything I do. It’s so easy to train hard, hurt a lot and then not go back again – it’s time that there were classes specifically designed for women which push them, but not too hard.”
Baz shares the key exercises women should focus on to help unlock mid-life health.
HERE ARE THE 6 AREAS THAT YOUR EXERCISE SHOULD COVER:
It is no coincidence that this is first! I love talking to anyone who will listen about pelvic floors – we all need to have strong pelvic floors so that we can stay independent, fit and on it for as long as possible and the good news is that it is never too late to start your exercises.
If you detect any changes whatsoever go and talk to your GP or book in with a Women’s Health Physio – and don’t wait the 7 years it typically takes for women to mention that they’re leaking or in pain!
This can often be an awkward area to talk about and so it’s worth writing down your symptoms before you go so that you can either refer to them or hand them over.
- Book in with a GP
- Book in to see a Women’s Health Physio
- Download Squeezy App and do your exercises every single day
The biggest killer of midlife women is coronary heart disease – so we all need to move more. And going back to your pelvic floor if you’re leaking when you’re moving it’s no surprise that you don’t want to move, so you must get that sorted first.
Think 20-30mins a day of ‘purposeful’ movement and if you can move purposefully with others, or in nature or with a pet you can tick the cognitive health box as well!
Cardiac exercise includes:
This will not be news at all – but there is plenty of confusion around what strength training is? Body weight exercises are brilliant and so there is no need for equipment or memberships.
And anything is better than nothing.
Types of exercise include:
- Hot Flush videos
- Squats, Lunges, Press-ups
- Body Pump Classes
- Outdoor Fitness Classes
- Outdoor / Indoor resistance equipment
IMPACT AND CO-ORDINATION
Before you skip this section deciding it’s not for you, keep reading! Impact does not mean star jumps, burpees or high knees. Walking is impact, as is skipping, low level jumps and hops. You can adapt all exercises to have very low levels of impact which is important for every woman.
Impact is just so good as it ticks the cardiac, bone and cognitive health boxes and so is something to embrace and not avoid.
I’d suggest doing this work with your shoes and socks off so that your body can really feel what is going on and react accordingly. Be light on your feet and as flowing as possible.
Types of exercises include:
- Circuit Training
- Tennis/Netball (all ball sports)
- Ice Skating
STRETCHING AND MOBILITY
It’s inevitable that as we age our bodies get stiffer and by far the worse thing you can do is stop moving. We need to keep on moving through large ranges of movement, in lots of different directions as smoothly as we can and always pain free.
Stretching does not always mean holding a position, there are plenty of flowing stretching exercises which just feel wonderful
Good examples include:
- Hot Flush Videos
- Dance classes
- Aqua aerobics
You heard it here first: breathing is the next big thing in fitness! I know it sounds ridiculous as we’ve all been breathing 20,000 times a day just fine. But are you breathing in a way that will help protect and strengthen your pelvic floor? Keep you mobile and reduce tension and stress?
Doing just a few minutes of purposeful breathing by bringing it into your overall consciousness is so powerful and worthwhile in terms of your overall health.
Ways to do this include:
- Tai Chi
- Mindfulness Classes
- Mindfulness Apps such as Headspace, Calm or Clarity
So here you have it – my guide to keeping on it with your body. We’re all going to live for such a long time that spending time and money on our own bodies is a no brainer to me. Like with all things though, this should make you feel good and not be a burden. I’d really encourage you to get out there and try new ways to challenge your body – that’s how you build up resilience so that you can be strong for whatever life throws your way.
Why not check out Baz’s beginners workout in our vlogs Hot Flush Fitness with Baz!