Building Strong Bones for the Menopause and Beyond
“Your next position is your best position”. Variety is the spice of life when it comes to the ideal posture and exercise, according to Christien Bird, Women’s Health Physiotherapist. Regular exercise is crucial for women in midlife, not just to support bone density, but also to reduce the risk of heart attacks, which increases as oestrogen levels drop, post-menopause. Exercise is also a great stress-buster, and relieving those cortisol levels can make a big difference to your wellbeing during the menopause.
In this episode of The Happy Menopause, I speak to Christien Bird about how, when and how much to exercise to optimise our bone, heart and hormone health. As a Women’s Health Physio and founder of the excellent White Hart Clinic in Barnes, South West London, she’s ideally placed to bust all those myths about what menopausal women ‘should’ or ‘shouldn’t’ be doing on the exercise front. She’s a specialist in pelvic floor and incontinence and a passionate supporter of women’s health in midlife.
We talk bone health, nutrition and the different ways that exercise can keep you strong, healthy and mobile through the menopause and beyond. Christien shares the shocking statistic that from the age of 5, girls are already less active than boys – less likely to cycle, join a sports club or walk to school – and this gap widens as children grow. The good news is that it’s never too late to start exercising and that women actually benefit more quickly and directly from exercise than men! She’s full of good advice about the different types of exercise you can try, how much you need to do and how to make sure you don’t get in a rut. Your muscles and bones adapt quickly to the same fitness regime, so it’s important to keep challenging yourself and to mix it up a bit, if you want to see results.
Christien is a really interesting, inspiring and convincing speaker – I’ve already made some tweaks to my exercise regime, based on her advice in the podcast. Have a listen and see what she can do for you too!
To find out more about Christien and the women’s health physiotherapy work that she specialises in, visit the White Hart Clinic website.
Useful Resources and Products
Here are some of the websites and services that we discussed or that are relevant to the theme of the podcast.
- The Royal Osteoporosis Society has a wealth of useful information about bone health and how to prevent or manage osteopenia and osteoporosis.
- Park Run is free for everyone and easily accessible, because it’s all over the UK.
- This Girl Can is an inspiring website, supported by Sport England, encouraging women to get active and providing lots of helpful tips to get you started.
- My blog on the best nutrition to support your exercise regime: Eat Yourself Fit: How to Avoid Everyday Exercising Errors
- If lack of energy is behind your lack of exercise, my book Va Va Voom: the 10-Day Energy Diet could be just what you need to get back on track.
- Collect your free sample from our sponsors Sylk, and relieve vaginal dryness and irritation.