Hi, my name is Karen and thank you so much to Sally, who is very kindly allowing me to write a short blog for you about the importance of exercise at the time of menopause, in particular for your bone health.
I started the menopause last year and was so pleased to find Sally’s great Facebook group, The Menopause Club, which has been really helpful and supportive to me on my menopause journey so far.
Menopause and Lockdown
During Lockdown, having been put on the NHS Highly Vulnerable List and concerned about the menopause and exercise, I appealed to a good friend, who owns and runs a London gym, for help. I just think of Lee as my ‘exercise guru’ but he actually has an MSc Masters degree from King’s College, University of London, specialising in bone health and exercise – to see his biography, click here
So, Lee kindly started up some free exercise classes called ‘Building Better Bones’ (BBB). The online classes have been free during Lockdown and he continues to offer two weeks free trial after that for anyone who is new.
Although particularly useful for those with osteopenia and osteoporosis, they are also useful for anyone concerned about their bone health and / or their general fitness & health, including the symptoms associated with the menopause, which these classes can help alleviate & improve.
I’m already feeling many benefits of doing the classes! If you cannot make the class, there is always a recording available, providing you have registered for class, that you can watch &/or complete at a different time convenient to you.
I like doing the live classes, because they have two experienced instructors with 30 year’s experience between them, carefully monitoring and correcting our movements and giving us a variety of exercise adaptations or as they like to call them, Modifications.
There is also a WhatsApp group which supports the classes, where the BBB workouts are posted, with exercise videos and other useful information. We have a ‘shake those bones’ playlist on Spotify, made up of the group’s favourite songs & they always ask new people joining if they want to add any more, fun bone facts, nutrition and other lifestyle and mental wellbeing advice. There is also a linked YouTube Channel with demonstrations all the various exercises we do in class.
We have a mixed group of ladies doing the classes, from some very young ladies with their children, to women going through the menopause like me and then older ladies, some with their grandchildren. We even have one young mum and her mother both regularly participating. The classes are very friendly, but most importantly they are fun & at the end of the class you really feel wonderful and that you’ve helped improve your personal health and wellbeing. They follow Royal Osteoporosis Society Exercise Guidelines and current research thinking, the instructors Emma & Lee, are so knowledgeable and encouraging. The important thing for me personally is that they are also very safe – I’m at high fracture risk and I’ve checked with my osteoporosis specialist physiotherapist, who fully endorses the classes and the benefits of exercises for my bones, as do my various metabolic bone specialists at different UK Centres of Excellence.
If you would like to watch a recording of our last class, please CLICK HERE
You will feel the benefits, even in a couple of weeks and get some great exercise advice. After your couple of week’s free trial you can then make an informed decision about continuing or not.
You can find out more about the classes here: https://crossfitshapesmiths.co.uk/programs/building-better-bones/
I personally started this medically induced menopause last year, due to being suddenly taken off the contraceptive pill and put on tamoxifen treatment when it was found out that I had breast cancer. I had a lumpectomy, but oncologists were reluctant to give radiotherapy, because I have a rare bone disease, pregnancy associated osteoporosis and they were concerned about the effect of the radiotherapy beam on my ribs in particular. Therefore I am completely dependent on the tamoxifen treatment and must continue this for ten years, which has induced really severe menopause symptoms. For me, HRT and various supplements and possible help for menopause symptoms such as CBD, Black Cohosh & Boron, etc. are not a possibility. I’ve already had the palpitations, night sweats, pounding heart, poor sleep, weight gain & podgy tummy, stress and depression, joint and muscle pain and reduced muscle strength, skin and other issues, which can all be related to menopause (although in my case could also be interrelated to or worsened by other health conditions too!).
Prior to lockdown I was having acupuncture treatment from Breast Cancer Haven but that is obviously paused now as they are closed. Therefore I am so pleased to find that the new exercises are helping and I feel much better already and hope this will continue to improve.
I also started researching into the menopause and its effects, particularly on bone health. As we all know, menopause average age is 51 in the UK, but it can occur at any age, for a variety of reasons. A large majority of women experience a variety of symptoms affecting their physical and mental wellbeing, but menopause can also cause more serious health conditions and osteoporosis in particular.
I am not a medical expert, but I am a ‘patient expert’ and do volunteer for the Royal Osteoporosis Society, on their helpline, their Osteoporosis in Pregnancy Group & I am a Patient Advocate on their new Research Academy & I am also a layperson on NICE (the National Institute for Clinical Excellence).
Thanks for listening!
If you want to know more about my story, I tell this in more detail on Rare Disease UK & the Royal Osteoporosis Websites as below: