Peri-menopause is that 5-10 year period before women reach menopause. Hot flushes, mood swings, depression, weight gain – these are many more symptoms are common. With peri-menopause comes lower levels of oestrogen, and with that women lose the protective benefits oestrogen provides to our hearts, our bones, and our brains. So although weight gain is one concern at this stage of life that might drive women to feel the need to exercise, the other health benefits are less visible yet life-savingly important.
Peri-menopause is a time to start taking your health more seriously – and exercise is an excellent medicine.
In choosing a particular kind of exercise for yourself, you need to examine your relationship with exercise. Do you view it as punishment, as a reward, or is it just another thing to check off your daily to-do list? Would you really enjoy the stress associated with crossfit-style competitive motivation – will this help your adrenal stress levels? Or do you perceive it as fun? What symptoms of menopause are you having most difficulty with? Your sense of wellbeing is connected to your serotonin levels, and it has recently been found that 10 minutes of stretching before bed-time can reduce the intensity of hot flushes and also depression. So maybe some mind-body connection and focus on breathing is what you need to reduce stress levels.
You also need to pay heed to the laws of physics when it comes to pelvic floor strength. Trauma from child-bearing or birth often doesn’t manifest itself until 20 years later, when the strength loss from oestrogen decline leaves you in less control of your pelvic floor, and you find yourself suffering from urinary or faecal incontinence, or even prolapse. High impact exercise will probably not be a good place to start if you are coming back to exercise for the first time in ages.
Kegel exercises have been prescribed to us for generations for increasing pelvic floor strength – however I don’t see the shelving space for grownups pullups in supermarkets getting any smaller. Something more focused is clearly needed to address this issue.
For a global approach to the pelvic floor and core muscles, we recommend Power Plate. The gentle vibrations trigger rapid reflex contractions, engaging muscles subconsciously, building strength in no time, and showing a proven reduction in incontinence. Knowing what to do on the Power Plate machine to achieve a desired effect has always been the puzzle. Newly released, the Power Plate Healthy Mums Programme provides a 12 week video-led coaching programme with pelvic floor safe exercises to restore the strength in a compromised core or pelvic floor.
Designed by industry-leading expert in post-natal fitness education, Jenny Burrell, it is an easy to follow programme that comes complete with your own portable Personal Power Plate machine, a Kick Start fat loss recipe book, exercise accessories and your unique video access code.
With the increase in the size of elderly populations in the world, osteoporosis and sarcopenia (the loss of muscle mass and strength) are important public health issues.
Postmenopausal osteoporosis treatment has typically focused on screening, diagnosis, and early therapy. Treatment of osteoporosis is a long-term process and typically involves the prescription of drugs with potential adverse effects. This kind of treatment may not be 100% preventive of its development and consequences. Lifestyle factors that are within a person’s control are important to treatment and prevention, and these include nutrition, smoking, alcohol intake, and movement/exercise.
The rapid decline in bone density at menopause is attributable to lower hormonal levels, and this is a very important time to start taking action for your bones to prevent osteoporosis in your later years.
Although exercises are widely used to enhance muscle strength and flexibility and to prevent bone loss, there are conflicting results when measuring the effect on bone loss of different types of exercises. Walking and jogging, while popular, do always show uniform results, and can be potentially harmful for people with impaired balance and flexibility, and jogging is certainly not the most popular exercise of choice for post-menopausal women, what with reduced pelvic floor muscle strength and potential incontinence issues. (See our Power Plate Healthy Mums Programme for a programme designed especially for restoring pelvic floor and core strength).
Safety of physical activity is an important consideration in the management of osteoporosis, due to the increased risk of falls, since quite often the fact that people in this age group already have compromised strength and balance.
Research shows Power Plate can help…
Scientific literature reviews consider Whole body vibration within a specific range of appropriate parameters, including frequency, amplitude, and peak-to-peak distance, to be a safe form of physical activity. The mechanical vibration from whole body vibration can influence a number of body processes and systems to help prevent the decline, to increase, or maintain bone mass.
Osteocytes are mechanoreceptors within the bone and respond to the EMG activity of the muscle responding to the vibrations. There is an increase in circulation and the fluid dynamics within the bone, as a result of forces applied by muscle to bone during physical activity. There is also mechanical strain applied directly and indirectly through the hydrostatic elements within the bone. The bending/deforming of bone by the action of the muscle contractions induced by the vibration also produce electrical charges, which in turn stimulate bone formation. Whole body vibration also has an anabolic effect on soft tissues, muscle and bone and with increases in growth hormone, parathyroid hormone and testosterone, muscle loss and osteoporosis can be limited.
Long term consistency is key…
Across extensive literature reviews of the effect of whole body vibration and post-menopausal osteoporosis, the best outcomes were found when
- frequency range was between 12Hz and 40 Hz
- amplitude was between 1 mm and 12 mm
- G force was between 0.3 g and 6.4 g
- the person participated in 2 to 3 sessions per week
- the duration of the intervention was a minimum of 6 months
Read more of the available research
The Power Plate® Healthy Mums Programme has been launched to help mums restore core strength and lose “mummy tummy”. Power Plate and Burrell Education have introduced a specialised, video-led, home-based programme for mothers to restore core and pelvic floor function.
Power Plate has collaborated with top international post-natal recovery specialist Jenny Burrell, to bring you the Power Plate Healthy Mums Programme, specially designed for every mother who’s short of time but wants and needs an effective, time-efficient fitness and wellness programme that will get her strong, fit and toned, from the inside out – in less time!
Jenny has been working in the field of pregnancy, post-natal fitness and wellbeing for nearly two decades, as well as helping hundreds of busy women regain awesome health and fitness after having babies. She has educated thousands of fitness and wellness professionals and has taught her systems for this very special population worldwide.
The thinking behind it
The Power Plate Healthy Mums Programme was created because we all know that mums are BUSY, and fitting in an effective workout, nourishing food, some stretching and a little relaxation can all be challenging within a normal day.
This programme helps mothers work ‘smarter and not harder’ by following a simple, enjoyable ‘movement’ and nutrition programme that also emphasises the value in having a little lie-down too. It incorporates sessions that will improve pelvic floor and total core strength, help reduce back pain, reduce incontinence, and not only mean mums look great, but are stronger from the inside out.
Nicole Santos, business development manager for the New Zealand distributors of Power Plate, and mother of twins, says: “For months my baby bump was a source of joy and happiness. Once I was finally united with my two little boys, it was time to deal with the changes I experienced in my body. I found that nutrition together with the Power Plate Healthy Mums programme has given me a way to beat the bump and work towards getting my pre-baby body back. My improved core and pelvic floor strength has given me back so much confidence. And it fits perfectly into my hectic days!”
- The Power Plate Healthy Mums Programme can be purchased online right here or from specialised retailers, including Life Eastridge Pharmacy (Mission Bay), Eastside Studio (Parnell), Unichem Faulkner’s Pharmacy (Tauranga), Total Body (Gisborne) and Fit Fit Fit (Grey Lynn).
Along with changes in oestrogen levels during menopause, growth hormone (hGH) levels drop. hGH is the “Youth Hormone” and it influences metabolism, cell repair and growth, amount of muscle, energy levels, bone strength, brain function, sexual function, organ health, condition of nails, hair, skin, and much more …
By the time we are 50 years old, our bodies produce only 20% of the amount of hGH we produced at 20 years, and signs of “ageing” well and truly have started to appear. Through positive lifestyle changes we are able to slow the decline and even boost growth hormone levels, to assist with fat metabolism, amongst other things.
Relaxation and exercise are key
Vital to anyone of this age seeking fat loss is stress reduction. Cortisol, the stress hormone, has a negative impact on the amount of Growth Hormone you produce. So prioritising restorative activities, reducing stress factors in your life, and improving your capacity to deal with stress is essential. The quantity and quality of sleep also has an influence on hGH production, fat loss and vitality.
Exercising at the right intensity can help to optimise hGH levels. A good strategy would be to perform three to five short “metabolic” sessions per week, where at least 10 minutes is high intensity so you get sweaty, increase your heart rate, and “feel the burn”. The maximum workout time should be between 20 and 30 minutes, so keeping it short and sweet is key.
Power Plate training offers a time effective way to get “bang for buck”. Heart rate increases, metabolic burn can be reached, anabolic hormones released, and nothing beats the stress-reducing massage on the Power Plate machine. Sweet.
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