Changing your exercise routine to suit your changing body
Author: Carolyne Anthony
Some proven advice from Carolyne Anthony, Founder and Director of The Center for Women’s Fitness, to help you get the most out of your workout routine.
You have spent years fine tuning your current workout and know it works. So well in fact, that you no longer have to pay attention to what you’re doing. You can exercise while thinking about your grocery list, what you have to cook for dinner, making that vet appointment – the voices in your head go on and on without ever disrupting your stride.
Now something doesn’t feel quite right. Something has caught your attention. Your body perhaps? Suddenly, you’re heavier, you discover your butt is somewhere behind your knees, your arms seem to be flapping in the wind, and you seem to have sprouted a doughnut around your waist.
You try to work out more. But nothing is making a difference. Why? You ask. (that’s almost a scream – WWWHHHHYYY???????) After all your carefully laid plans – things just got thrown up in the air. It’s the menopause.
Deep breath – there is help.
Out with the old – in with the new
Workout that is. It stands to reason that if your body is changing then your “old” workout won’t fit this new body. Let’s get one thing straight. Your more mature body doesn’t have to be a bad thing. In fact, in the exercise world, it’s a better thing. How? It’s all to do with those pesky hormones. Time to consider changing your workout routine. The good thing here is that as your levels of estrogen and progesterone decrease, you won’t see those dips in your fitness levels anymore. You will even out and possibly become stronger as your androgen levels rise. This means that you can build muscle like never before. All those stories of 70-year-old body builders? They’re all true.
Here are some things you can add or change your exercise routine:
If you don’t already do this, add cardio. Sometimes the weight gain during menopause is stress related and not because you are eating too much. Or it may be that you have developed an intolerance to certain foods. This can happen when your hormones change big time. What cardio will do for you is burn more calories and release endorphins- those feel good hormones.
Remember though that doing cardio doesn’t necessarily mean working hard. In fact, the more moderate the cardio workout, the more likely you are burning fat for fuel. However, I would suggest doing this for at least 20-30 minutes to get the most benefit.
Walking briskly or jogging are especially great as they are also weight bearing (or have impact) which is good for your bones and collagen regeneration.
Add- Weight training
Lifting weights or using resistance will build the muscle needed to plump up the areas that seem like they’re sagging. The muscle underneath the looser skin is still working well if not better. If you lift weights now, consider changing your workout routine by increasing the weight or resistance and lowering the repetitions. This formula will build up muscle.
Keep overhead exercises with weights to a minimum if you are experiencing a roundness to your shoulders (kyphosis) as these types of movement may exacerbate the problem.
Add- stretching and flexibility
Don’t just rush off after your cardio and weight training sessions. Now is the time to really pay attention to your flexibility. With the decrease in estrogen and progesterone, you may feel yourself becoming stiffer and tighter. Having a good stretch particularly after working out while you’re warm, is a good thing. However, try not to stretch in a static position. This may make you even stiffer! Gentle rocking movements while in a stretch position will help to release both fascia and muscles and can also “oil” the joints.
Add- more deep muscle connection
This is also known as working the “core” The core comprises of your breathing diaphragm, your pelvic floor, all the abdominals, the psoas, and back extensors. Not just your tummy muscles. Exercise like Pilates will help you find this. The deeper you can work, the longer your body will work for you. This is a great time to discover the benefits of making those connections, especially if you have had children. It may be that some of the issues you are experiencing now could be left over from your postpartum period.
In all sense of the word. You may find yourself stumbling around a bit more than usual. This may be because the fat deposits that you are losing due to the decrease in estrogen make up for some of the structure to your body. When this changes, your posture and balance start to change. Standing up while exercising is preferable to spending most of your session lying on the floor. Test yourself by standing on one leg, or making quick changes in direction.
Balance out your harder workouts with down time. Meditation, contemplation, salsa dancing, Zumba, walking the dog- anything that brings you pleasure makes it easier to get through this time. Self-care is important for your sanity and strength.
Menopause can be a great teacher. Listen to your body and adapt to the changes rather than fighting them. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. Your body can be stronger and better than it has ever been.
About the Author
Carolyne Anthony is the Founder/Director of the Center for Women’s Fitness. Carolyne has been in the Dance, Fitness and Pilates world for over 35 years. She has a Diploma in Dance from The Stella Mann College, UK as well as Pilates Certifications through Polestar, BASI, PhysicalMind and The PMA. Carolyne is an author, Birth Doula, Reiki practitioner, Myofascial release practitioner and an Esoteric Healer. Her company-The Center for Women’s Fitness, is a continuing education organization for women’s health courses, with more than 2000 certified teachers in 40 countries. You can contact Carolyne via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her website at www.thecenterforwomensfitness.com