Journal / Phenomenal Women

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15 Aug, 2022

Mindset, movement & menopause. A conversation with female body coach and kinesologist Abi Adams.

Today’s Big Read captures a recent conversation with an expert in our community.

15 Aug, 2022

Mindset, movement & menopause. A conversation with female body coach and kinesologist Abi Adams.

Abi Adams is a female health educator and the Founder of Prøject Wøman, a business focused on supporting the next generation of intelligently strong and healthy women by helping them understand the power they hold within.

In this conversation we talk about rethinking movement in menopause and her own perimenopause journey.

Many of us find that our exercise habits impact us differently as we transition through menopause. We may suddenly feel depleted by that long run - or lack the strength to lift in the same way. Can you explain what happens on the inside to impact our bodies in this way?

We need to start by looking at the way our bodies use oestrogen. As we transition through menopause, we go from producing estrodial in our ovaries during our fertile years, to a subtler form known of oestrogen called estrone, which is produced in the kidneys. If you have lived a pretty full on life, your kidneys aren't going to be able to produce the hormones required. And this means that when you want to move or exercise, you add further stress to overworked adrenals and your body won't be able to sustain it. And this can be why you feel worse for movement, rather than better.

At the same time, our bodies slowly lose muscle mass and strength as a result of a drop of oestrogen and testosterone and the way the body fuels itself during exercise. This impacts blood sugar, which can lead to insulin resistance and the building of more fat around our middles and our upper thighs.

Eating less, exercising more and increasing cardio intensity can actually exacerbate all of the above.

Instead, research shows that one of the most effective exercise protocols for us at this evolutionary phase is to learn to lift properly (and to not be afraid of lifting ‘heavy’!) - as well as incorporating short sharp bursts of cardio. Both practices can balance blood sugars, assist with the burning of fat and fire up muscle growth.

How does perimenopause and menopause inform the way you support your clients?

I always start by looking at how she digests stress. If she is on an emotional rollercoaster, the last thing I'm going to focus on is upping her fitness. I want to look at where she's spending her energy and if the majority of it is going towards what makes her healthy and happy.

We would look at the power of relaxation and how she can incorporate it into her cyclical approach so the phases of her cycle, if she still has one, no longer trip her up or make her feel uncomfortable. Where's her support network and is she able to lean into it?

I recently had a client who was experiencing fuzzy head, migraines and extreme fatigue around her luteal/Inner Autumn phase of her cycle. Everything led back to her belief that if she told work she needed some time out or asked for support she wouldn't be considered for promotion.

So, we looked at creating a Menstrual Network with two women in her team. They set up a shared diary which tracked their cycle and identified how they could lean into the strengths each stage brings as well as preempt their individual needs. This stopped the ‘ask’ being all about her too - and allowed her to learn to ask for help at work.

Your own perimenopause journey has started in the time we've been working together. What changes have you noticed to your body and mind? And what have you found helps you manage your transition well?

My period is a lot lighter and shorter and it's not a consistent amount of days now. I go from 26 to 28 days and I'm acutely aware that they are shorter when I'm more inclined to stress (two small children and running a business can do that to you!).

My constipation is something I have to work on constantly and is a work in progress. As estradiol begins to decline, it has a massive impact on motility and response. Having suffered from this as a child, it's come back with a vengeance.

But for me, it's an adventure. I get to know more about myself and my needs and I love the power I have over my health and its outcomes.

To find out more about Abi and her work, head to:

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