Could the Menopause be affecting your bones?

Menopause is an experience all women will share at some point in our lives and even in this modern age our menopause is something we stoically accept and rarely discuss.

As a ‘woman of a certain age’ I have found myself suffering temperature tantrums, moody moments and memory glitches, I am declared fit and healthy on my rare visits to my GP.  So to be honest if I wasn't a Physiotherapist teaching Pilates my bones would be the least of my worries.Lots of women have little or no symptoms, and may ‘sail through the menopause’ without ever stepping foot in the G.P. surgery, however, we cannot escape the effects of our falling levels of oestrogen which can cause us to lose up to 20% of the bone mineral density (BMD) in the first 5-7 years after the menopause. Bone density is one of the factors which affect your bone strength overall and increase the risk of a fracture occurring most commonly in the hip, wrist and vertebra (spine).

So although the risk of osteoporosis and fractures is said to be ‘relatively low’ until you are much older. The risk is actually increased over the age of 65 which doesn't seem that far away for me now. Dig a bit deeper and more often than not the first time women get a diagnosis of osteopoenia or osteoporosis is after they have suffered a fracture.

We may experience an early menopause, have hormone related conditions, require certain medications known to affect bone or simply have a family history of osteoporosis. None of these are under our control but all can have consequences for our bones.

My philosophy is that ‘prevention is better than cure’ and this has driven me to explore the role of exercise and specifically what Pilates can do to protect my bones. The benefits of exercise are undisputed; maintaining bone mass, improving muscle strength and flexibility.  In addition balance focussed exercises reduce the risk of falling and thus fracture.  

A recent study in 2015 by Endera et al showed that people who participated in Pilates saw an increase in their BMD, as well as improvements in their physical performance and their quality of life.  

I have developed my Bone Healthy Pilates programme in accordance with the latest evidence and guidance from the Royal Osteoporosis Society consensus statement issued in March 2019.

I invite you to join me for a Free Taster Session this Tuesday at 9am or 10:15am, Wednesday at 6:30pm or Friday at 10:15am. During the Free Taster Session, you will find out how Pilates could improve your bone health and experience a few of the key exercises included. Choose one session to attend and click on the "Join Free Taster Session" button 10 minutes before the session starts on Tuesday, Wednesday or Friday. By clicking on the button, you will get access to my Live Streaming in Zoom.Join Free Taster SessionA four week Introduction allows us to explore the essential Pilates exercises to improve posture, strength and balance. Some recent participants said:

“The course was completely relevant and focussed’’

‘’Phillipa covered everything for me and helped everyone open up about their own needs’’

“I enjoyed Phillipa’s knowledge and expertise”
Finally during our 10 week programme we will dive deeper into the Pilates exercises for ideal posture and body alignment. We will strengthen using weight bearing exercises and band resisted exercises and last but not least practice balance focussed exercises.  

Menopause is a time of change, so take some time for yourself and make some changes to adopt a healthier, bone friendly lifestyle.Reference List

Endera A, Erden Z, Can F 2015 The effects of clinical pilates exercises on bone mineral density, physical performance and quality of life of women with postmenopausal osteoporosis. Journal of Back and Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation, vol. 28, no. 4, pp. 849-858

Strong, Steady and Straight: An expert consensus statement on physical activity and exercise for osteoporosis 01 Mar 2019