Article by Ruben Tabares
Ruben Tabares has trained and given nutritional advice to some of the country’s leading sports stars, from footballer John Terry to boxer David Haye, but it’s not just sporting events he prepares people for. Ruben’s also been helping women, including Meg Matthews, prepare for and deal with the menopause, which can be a physical and mental battle more demanding than any boxing or football match.
Ruben shares some of his top tips, below, on how best to prepare for this physically and mentally demanding time…
Taper the toxins:
Research has shown that by avoiding certain pollutants women could significantly delay the onset of the menopause by as much as 3.8 years1. Whilst avoiding pollutants altogether is almost impossible, there are a few easy steps that could help…
- There are obvious things to cut out like smoking and excess drinking (avoiding alcohol altogether is even better)
- Toothpastes, shampoos, body and face creams can all contain petro-chemicals, so take a close look at ingredients lists.
- Consider changing what you wash your bedsheets in, we all spend a lot of time in bed and can absorb chemicals from bed sheets through our skin.
- Drinking plenty of water is not only important for general hydration. It also helps keep unwanted fat and toxins down to a minimum and helps with dry skin, which affects many women during the menopause.
- Electro-magnetic radiation has also been shown to potentially be harmful so avoid where ever possible by putting your phone on airplane mode when you sleep and keeping it out of the bedroom.
Everyone can benefit from exercise, but osteoporosis (a thinning of the bones) can become a particular issue during and after the menopause. Weight training (body weight counts too) not only strengthens muscles, but bones too and helps keep bone density higher to lessen the impact of the menopause. Three great exercises to get you started are:
- Squatting – if you only do one strength training exercise this should be it. You don’t have to use any weights to feel the benefits of squatting – try doing 50 squats, without weights, and you’ll feel it the next morning. Please ensure you get your heart rate up before exercising by fast walking, jogging etc. and then dynamically stretch before you start to get you ready and avoid injuries in the future.
- Overhead press – start with a pair of light dumbbells at shoulder height and extend your arms upwards. Three sets of eight repetitions is a good starting point. As you progress, you can combine this with a squat.
- Core work – a strong core is vital for good posture. Apart from squatting and dead lifting which are great core workouts, try doing a series of different core exercises such as slow crunch, sit up (lying supine with knees bent), toe touches and one of my personal favourites the dead bug.
Prepare your mind:
Don’t get stressed about the menopause, it’s unlikely to be as bad as you think. Teach yourself, the brain needs exercising too, how to relax now so if you do become more prone to stress when you enter the menopause you know how to deal with it.
- Find a meditation technique that works for you. This doesn’t have to mean sitting cross legged in a cave, although that might work for some, simply taking a walk amongst nature away from modern technology is a form of meditation for many.
- Sun Chlorella, a type of algae supplement, might help. Researchers2 found that chlorella may affect part of the brain called the hypothalamus, which plays a big role in how we react to stress. It was discovered that the algae appears able to reduce the amount by which the hypothalamus activates the body’s stress system; resulting in a lower production of a specific stress hormone, called adrenocorticotropic hormone, and a reduction in stress induced hyperglycaemia (a raising of blood sugar levels seen in stressful situations).
- Exercise releases hormones that helps us feel good and reduces stress, who doesn’t feel better after losing an extra pound or two. Exercise can be in the form of a brisk walk, sprint, long run, yoga, gym training etc, whatever gets you going.
Ruben (http://www.rubentabares.com/) has a BSc in Nutrition & Dietetics, a diploma in Sports Therapy and Strength & Conditioning and has studied Anatomy & Physiology as well as biomechanics and has helped Meg Matthews during the menopause –
- Persistent Organic Pollutants and Early Menopause in U.S. Women. Grindler, Natalia ; Allsworth, Jenifer ; Macones, George ; Kannan, Kurunthachalam ; Roehl, Kimberly ; Cooper, Amber. PLoS One, Jan 2015, Vol.10(1), p.e0116057[Peer Reviewed Journal]
- 2016 Mar;65:1-8. doi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2015.12.002. Epub 2015 Dec 4. Chlorella vulgaris reduces the impact of stress on hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and brain c-fos expression. Souza Queiroz J1, Marín Blasco I2, Gagliano H2, Daviu N2, Gómez Román A2, Belda X2, Carrasco J2, Rocha MC3, Palermo Neto J4, Armario A5.