Exercise | Fitness | Food | Menopause

Is your heart as strong as your guns?

As we catapult toward the festive season surrounded with temptation of festive food and drink, let’s stop and think about what’s going on inside; let’s give our heart muscle some attention.

Don’t overlook this important muscle while you’re worrying about fitting into your your LBD.
This time of year at my studio, as we have for the last 13, we launch the Little Black Dress and Ski-Fit courses www.fitnessforeverybody.co.uk

However, this year I’ve been thinking about my clients I’ve worked with pre-studio in clinical settings; cardiac patients, women with osteoporosis and clients through the GP referral scheme who suffer with depression, obesity, high blood pressure and raised cholesterol.
Higher risk
During menopause we are at higher risk of high cholesterol and heart disease including increased blood pressure due to the decrease in oestrogen. Stress can also have a big impact on our heart health and this time of year can be increasingly stressful!
Our heart is a muscle and if we don’t use it just like the rest of our muscles it will become flaccid and weak. Therefore, less capable of pumping blood around our body – which can lead to multiple health problems.
Becoming breathless is a great workout for this precious muscle, so make sure in between your lunges and sit ups you remember to give this muscle a workout; either running on the spot, high knee lifts or walking up and down the stairs quickly will challenge this gorgeous important muscle.
When we hit menopause our LDL (our bad cholesterol) can become raised and our HDL (good cholesterol) either remains the same or decreases. Stress can also increase bad cholesterol.
Eating well and exercising will help fight LDL.
When we become breathless it helps kill the LDL and increases our HDL.
Foods such as oats, oily fish, barley, beans, aubergine, nuts, apples, grapes, citrus fruit and whole grains will also help combat bad cholesterol.
High blood pressure
As we reach menopause our blood pressure can also increase. Stress and anxiety can cause raised blood pressure; a lot of menopausal women suffer with anxiety during menopause so it’s good to be aware and to take preventative measures such as undertaking physical activity to become breathless as well as eating well. Meditation will really help and this can come in lots of forms from sitting chatting to friends to listening to an App, there are plenty on the market – this one is specifically for menopausal women http://bit.ly/2KbkAtY
How to minimise risk factors
As the festive season is coming closer and our diaries are looking fuller with events, what can we do to stay healthy and keep our risk factors such as stress to a minimum?
Laughing! Surround yourself with positive energy; do things that make you smile, Put on a film that makes you laugh and do something positive for yourself each day, even if it’s sitting for 5 minutes on your own with a cuppa.

Dancing! It’s a great way to burn calories and work your heart therefore increasing good cholesterol and helping your blood pressure. Dancing will release feel good chemicals in your brain such as serotoninand endorphins,
Also, remember every little counts. If you regularly attend classes and the gym but your times are compromised with a fuller festive diary then make sure you take the stairs at every opportunity and walk as much as possible – ditch the bus or train, keep your trainer or flats in your day bag!
Your festive diary – meeting up.
This time of year it’s great catching up with friends but why don’t you mix up your activities? Rather than meeting for a meal or drinks, take part in an exercise class or a walk together then have a cuppa afterwards somewhere nice that’s filled with

festive cheer? If it’s in the diary then you’ll stick to it and your heart, waistline and head will benefit!
Stop and think
Just stop and think before you eat or drink – do you really need it? What have you eaten this week? Should you perhaps make a different choice?
Small things make a big difference to your overall health, eating an apple and not the cake along with taking the stairs a few more times will be great for body, mind and of course your menopause symptoms!
Any questions Meno’s please shout!
Jane x