I’ve spent the last 2 years in postmenopause and it’s taken me that long to realise how badly it has affected my golf. After chronic aching, MRI’s, specialist appointments, physiotherapy, muscle wastage and loss of fitness I am finally getting back to some kind of normal !!!!
First of all, what even is menopause? Well, it’s the monthly waves of oestrogen and hormones that women have surfed since puberty. That time of the month ceases of course and lots of biological processes change, affected not only our mood and lady parts, but it also can drag down our ability to play at our best.
Many women build up anxiety over this body change and fear from losing that power bod we had in our 20s and 30s , but it’s totally normal! We’re still athletes, however we just need to get comfortable and figure out our new bodies.
One of the first changes that happens is our sleep quality changes. I’ll write another blog post soon on the importance of sleep, because that topic is so broad but for now I’ll sum it all up for you. Sixty one percent of women report sleep insomnia symptoms, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Many things contribute to this loss of quality sleep, such as the decline of estrogen and progesterone (which helps us fall and stay asleep) a dearth of melatonin (regulates our body temperature for sleep) hot flashes and night sweats (wake us up) and the stress hormone cortisol (which estrogen helps control). But lucky for us golfers, it’s less likely for us active women to suffer from inconsistent sleep patterns.
According to Monica Serra, a research scientist at the VA Maryland Health Care System, “physically active people have better sleep patterns”. Yay, bonus points for us golf ladies because sleep is prime time for our muscle recovery. Stacy T. Sims, a nutrition scientist and physiologist in New Zealand who has studied women’s performance for 25 years, recommends exercise at the beginning of day, as it can promote better quality sleep, and also keeping our bedrooms cool.
Don’t be disheartened by this change in our bodies. Sims states that “just because you hit a certain age, your body doesn’t stop”. She claims that the fitter we are, the less of a problem these body changes are. If you feel as though you’re not very fit, it’s totally ok! Starting exercise can help build our bone mass, then we are able to build lean mass and finally we will lose fat mass, improving quality of our muscles…Research states that people who exercise have a better quality of life.
What happens in Menopause
- Body slows
Aerobic capacity (cardiovascular system’s ability to convert oxygen to energy) can drop 5 to 9 per cent each decade beginning in your 30s (happens to men as well). Athletes have an improved aerobic capacity and blood volume compared to people who don’t participant in physical activity!
- Heat becomes harder to manage
Hot flushes, it’s blood rushing to our skins surface to offload heat, quite irritating for athletes who would rather blood in their working muscles. Good hydration can help us avoid this
- Stomach troubles
Blood-sugar levels are raised because our so loved pastas and breads become harder to process for older women. TIP: eating more fruit and whole grains and less processed sugar can keep our tummies and blood sugar more consistent and stable
- Bone thins
In our journey with menopause, we can loose up to 20 per cent of our bone density. TIP: regular strength training and a diet rich in bone building nutrients (milk/yogurt/fish/eggs are good choices)
- Flexibility decreases
Almost everyone looses flexibility as we age, meaning a greater risk for pulling muscles and causing strains. Sitting down a lot can cause tightened hip flexors and floppy glutes, which can alter our range of motion. TIP: putting a little bit of effort into 3 minutes per day, or once every second day, can make a huge difference, especially when our muscles are warm (after a workout/game of golf/a shower/bath)
Comment down below any questions or comments sharing your experience/tips with handling menopause 💪🏼⛳️
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