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Can Pilates Help Reduce Menopausal Weight Gain?




What Causes Menopausal Weight Gain?

 If you have personally experienced menopausal weight gain you may have found the weight started to increase gradually around your abdomen during perimenopause and continued gradually but steadily during menopause.  The main cause is a drop in the hormone oestrogen which can cause a tendency to eat more and move less.  It also slows metabolism and causes the body to use starches and blood sugar less efficiently, which leads to fat storage and makes dropping those extra kilos a real challenge. Insomnia is another symptom of menopause that some women have the misfortune of experiencing.  Lack of sleep is also associated with an increase in body fat. 


Why is Increased Belly Fat So Bad for Your Health?

 A concentration of fat solely around your abdomen or "belly" can be damaging for your health.  Subcutaneous fat is the fat that is underneath the skin. We need a certain amount of this type of fat to perform several functions such as regulating body temperature and as a way of storing energy in the body for example. When this type of fat becomes excessive it can become visceral or "hidden" fat which wraps around organs.  This type of fat contributes to systemic inflammation and insulin resistance.  This leads to diseases such type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some types of cancer. 


Can Pilates Help You to Reduce Excess Fat?

 Pilates is ideal for helping to reduce menopausal fat.  It's a low impact form of exercise and it's gentle on the joints which are more susceptible to injury at this time when oestrogen levels drop.  Short sessions daily or several times per week of 15 to 20 mins  per session can produce results if you are consistent with your training. 


Pilates works from the inside out by strengthening the core or abdominal muscles which  supports the spine and promotes good posture  which results in a more toned and firmed  midsection.  Activating and strengthening the abdominal muscles also helps you to stay pain-free, move with ease and prevent injury. 


The more movement you can incorporate into your life with Pilates, the greater muscle mass you can build and the more you can help to speed up your slowing metabolism.  As Pilates is a mind body connection which requires a conscious breathing pattern, most women find it calming and meditative which makes for better quality sleep.  So alongside a calorie controlled diet Pilates can help build muscle, lower stress and improve sleep all which can contribute towards losing fat overall.



What Else Can I Do to Help Reduce Fat?

 In order to get the best results from your Pilates practice it's important to ensure you have a well-balanced diet including plenty of vegetables and fruit with a minimum of processed foods.  Drinking plenty of water helps you to stay hydrated and keeps your body functioning efficiently. 


Many women benefit from vitamin and mineral supplements at this time and it's best to consult your medical practitioner or a qualified nutritionist for a personalised program. Cardio exercise such as walking and cycling are also highly beneficial for reducing fat.  These are all factors to consider that can complement your Pilates practice and assist you in regaining your post menopausal weight.  Every woman has a different experience of menopause so it's important to find which methods work best for you personally.


If you have any questions about how Pilates can help you take control of your own health and fitness during menopause or beyond email me at Lisaroyhealth@outlook.com

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