Your ultimate menopause workout guide – as PT shares how she eased her symptoms

Your ultimate menopause workout guide – as PT shares how she eased her symptoms

WHEN you’re feeling achy, miserable and suffering from hot flushes, the last thing you want to do is exercise.

But personal trainer Kate Rowe-Ham, author of the Owning Your Menopause book and app, urges you to do just that.

When you’re feeling achy, miserable and suffering from hot flushes, the last thing you want to do is exerciseGetty Images

And Kate, 47, speaks from experience, having turned her life – and the lives of many women – around by picking up weights.

Her 1,000-strong community of 30-70 year olds uses the app’s live workouts seven days a week, while a group chat also offers support.

Kate’s own symptoms started in her early 40s, with aches and pains, sleepless nights and intense bouts of anger. 

“My night sweats were so bad, I had to wake my husband up to change the sheets. I had terrible breathlessness, heart palpitations and panic attacks.

“I’d go to bed thinking that I would die because my heart palpitations were so bad. The really sad thing about it was not knowing that I was actually going through perimenopause,” she says. 

Kate’s GP never mentioned it, though, instead recommending tests that provided no answers.

Finally, a private doctor diagnosed her as being in perimenopause.

When HRT wasn’t the magic bullet Kate hoped it would be, she decided to take a more holistic approach.

As a PT, Kate was no stranger to exercise, but she decided to start lifting weights, which has been shown to reduce hot flushes and night sweats. 

“I’ve had minimal symptoms since, especially in terms of the heart palpitations and aches and pains, plus my sleep has remarkably improved,” she says. 

“The biggest challenge was to try a month sober, which turned into two years. I only drink on special occasions now.

“I was getting close to a disordered relationship with alcohol by the time we came out of lockdown, and that is not uncommon in menopausal women,” she says.

“After three weeks of not drinking, I definitely felt a change.”

Kate accepts that adopting healthy habits long-term isn’t easy, which is why her book includes a 30-day plan that can also be accessed online.

She’s seen it lead to permanent change. 

For those dreading overhauling their lifestyle, she advises changing just one thing a week.

“Even if it’s to drink more water, eat more protein or go to bed an hour earlier, you’ll start to notice the difference.

“Then add in a five-minute walk.

“Everybody starts their journey somewhere, and it’s important not to compare yourself.”

The workouts

To help kick-start your fitness journey, Kate advises building up to performing three workouts a week, focusing on upper body, lower body and full body.

Do each exercise for 30-45 seconds, depending on your fitness levels and experience.

Rest for 15-30 seconds before moving on to the next exercise. Do five rounds.

The aim is to perform slow reps with good form, and if you are able to, use weights. 

Upper body & core

Press-up on knees 

Get on all-fours, feet off the ground.

Engage your core – squeeze your abs and pull your belly button in – and breathe in as you lower yourself to the floor by bending your elbows to 90 degrees.

To start the press-up on knees, get on all-fours, feet off the ground

Exhale, contract your chest muscles and push back up.

Overhead press 

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.

Hold dumb-bells at shoulder height, palms facing inwards.

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart for the overhead press

Lift the weights overhead, then lower slowly. Repeat.

Make sure your spine is in a neutral position and you bend your knees slightly. 

Dead bug 

Lie on the floor with arms above your chest, knees bent.

Slowly reach your right arm backwards over your head and towards the floor, as you simultaneously extend your left leg.

Lie on the floor with arms above your chest, knees bent for the dead bug

Swap sides.

Engage your core and keep your lower back against the floor. 

Tricep extension 

Hold a weight overhead with both hands.

Slowly bend your elbows and lower the weight behind your head as far as you can.

The tricep extension starts by holding a weight overhead with both hands

Keep elbows close to your ears.

At the lowest point, straighten elbows and extend the weight back overhead. 

Lower body & core

Squat 

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart.

With a strong core and upright posture, slowly lower by bending your knees and pushing your hips backwards.

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and squat

Pause when your thighs are parallel to the ground.

Stand up and squeeze your glutes (bum cheeks).

Plank tap 

Start in a plank with your wrists under your shoulders and feet together.

Engage your core and touch your left shoulder with your right hand.

Start in a plank with your wrists under your shoulders and feet together

Return to plank and touch your right shoulder with your left hand.

Drop to your knees to make it easier if needed.

Glute bridge 

Lie on your back with knees bent, feet firmly on the floor.

Engage your core and push your hips upwards.

Lie on your back with knees bent, feet firmly on the floor

Pause at the top, squeezing your glutes, then lower down slowly.

Loop a resistance band around your thighs to make it harder.

Reverse lunge 

Stand with your legs shoulder-width apart, holding weights.

Step your left leg back, and lunge as far as you can while dropping your hips down.

Stand with your legs shoulder-width apart, holding weights

Push back up to the starting position.

Repeat with your right leg, and keep alternating.

Full body

Sumo squat 

Stand with your feet wide apart, toes pointing out.

Move your hips back slightly and bend the knees as you lower into a squat, keeping the core engaged.

Stand with your feet wide apart, toes pointing out for the sumo squat

Pause for a few seconds then, engaging your glutes, come to standing, driving up through your heels.

Chest press 

Lie on your back, elbows bent, holding two dumb-bells in line with your chest.

Press them both up until your arms are fully extended over your chest.

Lie on your back, elbows bent, holding two dumb-bells in line with your chest

Lower both weights back down to the starting position, steadily and controlled. 

Curtsy lunge 

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.

Step back and around with your left foot, as if you’re curtsying.

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart

Bend into a lunge until your right thigh is parallel to the ground.

Straighten the right leg, push up through the heel and return to the start.

Push press 

Stand with feet hip-width apart.

Hold weights up by your shoulders, bend knees slightly and lower.

Stand with feet hip-width apart for the push press

Then, quickly stand up and lift the weights up overhead.

Keeping your glutes and core engaged will stabilise your spine. 

Photography:, Shutterstock, Sophie Mitchell  Owning

Your Menopause: Fitter, Calmer, Stronger In 30 Days by Kate Rowe-Ham (£16.99, Yellow Kite) is out now 

Visit Owningyourmenopause.com
   

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