Your 50 year old self just phoned in from the future to say……………

Menopause is diagnosed retrospectively 12 months after the last menstruation and occurs on average at the age of 52 in the United States.

Perimenopause is the time prior to menopause that can start in a woman’s 40s and last 6 years or longer. Because women are living a third of their lives AFTER menopause, it serves them well to take stock of how they are treating their body leading up to this transition so they can make some changes to be optimally healthy heading into menopause.

Many of the changes that occur are a result of the loss of estradiol, the body’s main form of estrogen prior to menopause. Estrogen is very protective of the cardiovascular system, the musculoskeletal system, and the region on the pelvis. For this reason, it can be beneficial to appreciate the changes that might be approaching and design exercise and nutritional plans
to support these changes.

RING RING!!! Who’s there? Oh, it’s just your 50+-year-old self phoning in from
the future to say:

……..”Take care of your heart NOW.”

❤️Heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide, regardless of race and ethnicity.

❤️One in 4 women will die of heart disease.

Because of estrogen’s heart-protective effects (estrogen raises HDL) women are affected by heart disease less than men prior to menopause. But after menopause, risks are similar for men and women due to the decrease in estrogen combined with weight gain and changes in fat distribution, fatigue and sedentary lifestyles, and the increase in serum cholesterol.

The American Heart Association states that women can lower their risk of heart disease by at least 80% by leading a healthy lifestyle. Because perimenopause (the years leading up to menopause) occurs at the mid-point of our lives, this is an excellent time to give ourselves a
progress report and make nutritional and exercise changes heading into the “change”

.……” Take care of your bones NOW.”

As a result of the estrogen depletion that occurs in menopause, women will experience rapid bone loss in the one year prior to the final menses and the 2 years following, losing up to 6% of their BMD. keIn the 5-7 years following menopause, women can lose up to 20% bone density. For this reason, women should be encouraged to obtain adequate calcium and Vitamin D, engage in regular weight-bearing and bone-building exercise, stop smoking, and limit alcohol intake.

………..”Take care of your pelvic floor NOW.”  

You see, prior to menopause your body is being bathed in the hormone estrogen.  Estrogen serves many protective functions and contributes to cardiovascular health, bone health, and tissue elasticity.  Estrogen levels can drop in this phase of your life and the type of estrogen produced shifts, making you more vulnerable to conditions like urinary incontinence (leaking pee) and pelvic organ prolapse (descension of pelvic organs into the vaginal or rectal opening).  

So what are 3 simple steps you can do NOW to ensure a happy pelvic floor in
the future?  

1)  Start by working on your posture and alignment.  When your pelvis is in a neutral position, the pelvic floor muscles are at an optimal length/tension relationship.  This “Goldilocks” position means your pelvis is not too tucked, and it’s not too arched, it’s “just right.”  To learn more about finding your optimal sitting and standing alignment, click here.

2) Next, consider the forces you place on your pelvic floor.  Imagine your pelvic floor to be like the bottom of a paper grocery bag.  The “groceries” you are placing in your bag come in the form of intra-abdominal pressure (think laugh, cough, sneeze, puke, lift, etc).  So if you sneeze or cough without matching that force with an equal and opposite contraction of your pelvic floor (yes, a Kegel), those forces get applied to the bottom of your bag and over time may cause problems with incontinence and prolapse.  Feel a sneeze coming? Contract your pelvic floor, sneeze, relax your pelvic floor.  And lifting super heavy weights or doing super high impact exercise (box jumps, insane amounts of burpees, double unders with the jump rope) is creating an unhealthy amount of strain to tissues that are already vulnerable.

3) Don’t just stop at Kegels.  Kegels alone are failing millions of women because they only teach us how to hold.  While contracting (AND FOR GOSH SAKES RELAXING) your pelvic floor is important, it isn’t very functional and lacks carry over to our daily lives.  Get creative with your Kegels.  For example, during a squat, inhale, and relax your pelvic floor on the way down, exhale and engage your pelvic floor on the way up.  Bicep curls? Why not bring the pelvic floor
along for the ride?  Exhale to contract your pelvic floor as you curl, inhale to melt and relax your pelvic floor as your arms return to your side.

You know what they say: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Plus, I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to hear what a hostile version of my 50-year-old self sounds like!!!


50% Complete

Two Step

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.