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How Women’s Bodies Change During Menopause

If you are here, you may find yourself navigating the physical and mental changes that menopause brings. Maybe you are trying to solve the mystery of menopausal belly fat, or trying to rid yourself of hot flashes.  

But menopause, like many things in life, brings changes other than the ones that are immediately apparent. 

Menopause is all about changing hormones. Our estrogen (along with other hormones) decreases, and our bodies begin to transform. Our once cooperative metabolism seems to hit a crossroads, and our fat tends to redistribute itself. This shift can be frustrating and mystifying as seemingly unrelated changes in our bodies pile up. 

Enter Pilates—a holistic approach that offers far more than just a remedy for menopausal belly fat. Pilates is a gentle yet powerful exercise method that engages not only the abdominal muscles but the entire body.

Pilates is a companion for many women since it emphasizes building strength, flexibility, and overall well-being. Not only does it support alignment and physique, but Pilates’ benefits ripple through women’s bodies and minds, helping us become more able to cope with these transitions. 

In this article, we’ll focus on six places where Pilates supports women’s bodies before and after menopause:

  1. Bones
  2. Joints
  3. Reducing brain fog
  4. Supporting memory
  5. Balancing hormones and
  6. Strengthening bladder health

     

    These aren’t the only ways that Pilates supports women’s health, but they are common areas of concern that women have during this time. 

How Pilates Helps Menopausal Women’s Bones and Joints

Even without the hormonal fluctuations from menopause, as we age, our bones and joints need extra care. 

During menopause, estrogen levels in the body vary and eventually decrease. Estrogen plays a crucial role in maintaining bone density and joint health. When these hormone levels start behaving unpredictably, there’s good reason to be concerned about bone density. With lowered bone density, fractures and joint troubles become more likely. 

In addition, these hormonal changes often cause our joints to act up, making us suddenly stiffer and less limber. These issues can be relatively minor, but for some, they absolutely affect quality of life. 

This is where Pilates changes the game. It offers menopausal women a way to move that is simultaneously easy on the joints and also strengthening. 

Pilates encourages a mindful approach to our movements, allowing us to tune into our bodies. When you practice Pilates you’re not just going through the motions; you’re actively noticing how your body responds to each exercise. The mindfulness element empowers you to adapt the moves to what works best for your bones and joints, and also to notice how they are feeling moment to moment. 

If you’d like to read about how Pilates affects menopausal women’s strength and flexibility, results of a scientific study are published in the Journal of Exercise and Rehabilitation

Pilates’ Mental Benefits: Clearing Brain Fog and Supporting Memory

Navigating menopause brings its own set of mental challenges, including brain fog and occasional memory lapses. Pilates, often seen as a physical exercise, plays an unexpected role in enhancing your mental well-being.

Perhaps you find yourself dealing with menopausal brain fog.The deliberate movements and controlled breathing in Pilates not only engage your body but also improve blood flow to the brain. This enhanced circulation acts as a refreshing mental boost amidst the hormonal changes, helping to clear the fog and promote mental clarity.

Many people in menopause struggle with their memory. Pilates supports memory by promoting blood flow to the brain. While it’s not a magic cure, the practice contributes to your overall brain health. The increased oxygen and nutrient supply support cognitive functions, including memory.

Pilates is built on six key principles that not only guide physical exercises but also foster mental well-being. These principles—Centering, Concentration, Control, Precision, Breath, and Flow—work together to bring balance to both body and mind. Embracing these principles in your Pilates practice can contribute to overall mental wellness. To find out more about these principles, you can read an article from Clarity Clinic – or visit us for an in-person session!  

Other Benefits Pilates Can Bring to Women’s Changing Bodies: Pilates, Hormones, and Bladder Health

As already stated, Pilates has a big impact on hormonal balance. Regular practice of Pilates has been linked to improvements in hormone levels, providing a natural and holistic way to address hormonal fluctuations. There have been studies linking deep breathing and decreased levels of cortisol (the flight or fight hormone). We can hypothesize that the practice of Pilates, with its focus on breathing and movement, also reduces these stress hormones. So in addition to all the physical benefits of pilates, it will also reduce your stress  while regulating your hormones. 

Check out other articles on our blog about how women can balance their hormones using East-Asian medicine.  

In addition to hormonal balance, Pilates supports bladder health. The emphasis on core strength in Pilates aids in fortifying pelvic floor muscles, supporting bladder control and promoting overall pelvic well-being.

Learn More About How Pilates Can Support Your Body

Pilates supports bone density, joints, mental clarity, memory, bladder control, and  balanced hormones. For anyone in transition, it can be a deeply grounding lifeline. 

Want to know more? Join us at Lemon Tree Wellness to explore the transformative effects of Pilates on your body. Our group classes and private sessions provide tailored support for your wellness journey. You can see the group class schedule HERE, and book using our easy scheduling system HERE.