How to Make Menopause Empowering
By Zarafshan Shiraz
The 40’s are a glorious phase of life for any woman as it is usually the peak of her professional abilities but also accompanied by major physiological changes such as those related to menopause. During this phase of transition and even after menopause, the body requires a lot of care.
In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Yoga Expert Uma Subramaniam advised, “One must ensure optimal nutrition in tandem with exercises that help keep the body and mind in good form. This is where Yoga has emerged as the preferred option for millions of women. It helps women relieve anxiety and stress caused by the changes and positively addresses emotional upheavals. Regular practice of yoga can help the body overcome challenges such as routine fatigue, backache, neck and joint pain. Some calming and relaxing asanas such as Shasanka, Paschima-namaskara, Janushirsa, Supta sukhasana, Shavasana can help during this phase. Shashankasana provides a gentle stretch while relaxing and energizing the body and mind.”
She added, “Paschima-namaskara is a reverse prayer pose that opens up the shoulder joints, expands the chest and improves breathing. Cooling and balancing pranayamas like sheetali and seetkari, Nadi shodhana, Brahmari or even A-U-M chanting can help. While these Yoga-based exercises are wonderful for reducing stress, and anxiety, it is also advisable to complement these with a brisk walk, dance, or other cardio routines, minimum of 3 liters of water, and an adequately nutritious diet is highly recommended. This would ensure women remain physically and mentally active and can avoid preventable health issues such as loss of bone density, weak immunity, and other age-related challenges that might affect them in the years after menopause.”
Calling menopause is a natural phenomenon in every woman’s life, which comes with its own sets of challenges and changes in the body and mind, Dr Veena Aggarwal, Gynaecologist at Women’s Health, highlighted, “If not managed properly it can lead to several health risks. The incidence of coronary heart disease or heart attacks increases during menopause due to the decline in the female hormone estrogen and progesterone which normally give protection against such events. The risk of osteoporosis is also very high which can lead to a higher incidence of fractures in this phase. Breast cancer risk also increases in this phase and hence yearly mammograms are advised for all women over the age of 40.”
She cautioned, “What is commonly ignored during this transition is the physical and emotional stress that women go through. These if ignored can lead to problems such as depression, lack of purpose, weight gain, irritability, lack of sound sleep and a feeling of being unwell. To avoid all these problems it is imperative to take care of one’s physical and mental health through expert guidance, dietary regulation, vitamin supplementation especially calcium and vitamin D3, and holistic exercise routines such as Yoga and walking, and meditation to ensure a smooth and safe transition during the menopause stage.”