Anxiety | Exercise | Fitness | Food | Menopause | Osteoporosis

Small changes…Need a hug?

Happy New Year!
I hope you are all well and you managed to survive Christmas, especially those who are suffering with hot flushes! Cooking the Christmas dinner is hard enough without these!
If you are suffering with anxiety and depression or just the “January blues” I have a closed Facebook
group and the ladies in this menopause community are wonderful. When I cannot dip in someone is always on hand to give a hug.
This week everything is back in full swing and I don’t know about you but I have found this last week hard to get back into “normal “ life.
If you are feeling in a rut but want to make some changes to your lifestyle and health that will help you through the menopausal fug here is some advice on how to make some small changes with your food and activity levels.
Try and incorporate more fruit and veg into your daily routine, even it is one extra piece of fruit or a vegetable you have never eaten before. Also remember to have protein with each meal ladies at this time in our life.
Sugar – I talk a lot about sugar and its affects on the body on my Instagram. Why not follow me as I offer daily updates on this subject and more?
Easy exercises to get you started
There are 100’s of ways to increase your heart rate but here are a few that will be great for your mental health and help you lose a few pounds at the same time!
Walking – You can, of course, get on a treadmill in a gym. However, exercising outside will boost your feel-good receptors. Studies show that exercising outside compared to inside will help lift your mood – obviously this is weather dependent!
Try going for a walk with a friend too; this way you can perhaps grab a cuppa afterwards, which is always good for the soul. It is also a good way to motivate each other when one is feeling low and less likely to actually get out and do it.

Dancing – Try a dance class or just put on your favourite music and have a bop. On our closed Facebook group recently, while working late at my studio, I put on some music and pranced around and encouraged members to join me. My choice of music was Donna Summer’s ‘No More Tears”. We all smiled, had a laugh and exercised – so job done!
Water based exercise – I love swimming and it is a great workout that will help you get toned all over (however remember this is not bone loading so you should do something else alongside this). Aqua aerobics is a great form of exercise – it’s performed to music, instructor led and is kinder to your body if you have any injuries. It is also usually “age appropriate” i.e. other menopausal women in the class, therefore you will not be surrounded by young, Lycra-clad women!
Racket sports – As with walking this is great to do with a friend, and as well as helping to prevent osteoporosis in your dominant batting side (osteoporosis prevention is a passion of mine!). What’s more, working out with another person will have a positive effect on your mental health. If you cannot persuade someone to join you, many leisure centres hold badminton and racket clubs where you can just turn up and find a partner, so not only will you improve your fitness but you will make new friends!
Restorative yoga – This type of yoga is wonderful for calming anxiety as it helps with relaxation; since

starting a few months ago I can now downward dog as good as the next person! More dynamic forms of yoga are great for strength and heart rate elevation but if you can find a good restorative class you will feel calmer and better able to sleep.
Joining a gym – This can be costly, however there are so many ‘budget’ gyms now ranging from around £17 – £30 per month. These gyms do have a place in the fitness arena, however the help or support that you receive isn’t like having a personal trainer. If you join a gym, make sure you are confident with what you are doing. If you can, go with a friend to help with motivation. Remember even though these gyms are budget, if you don’t use your membership it is money down the drain!
My advice is to ask for a couple of days’ free trial, test going at different times of the day and check out the classes. Ask if a fitness advisor will devise a programme for you, as you need to feel confident and happy – remember everyone needs to start somewhere.
I have had clients come to me via a GP referral service for exercise programmes and most would feel nervous – everyone feels like that when entering a gym for the first time. Ease yourself in slowly if you have never been before.
Good luck with your new fitness regime. Your new mantra is ‘strong body, strong mind’.
*When taking part in any new activity that will challenge your body, please make sure you get the ok from your GP or physician.
Jane Dowling is a clinical exercise practitioner with over 22 years in the industry, and is the owner of a successful studio in London Bridge. She has a website that supports women through menopause and a private Facebook group where women exchange stories. Follow her on Instagram for free training and food advice @menoandme. Jane also offers training and support through Skype.