Training Through Menopause & Beyond Part 4: Why Does Everything Feel So Much Harder?
Progesterone has a sedative effect so when levels drop there can be more sleep disruption
Estrogen increases REM sleep, assists Serotonin(relaxing hormone), reduces the time to fall asleep & regulates body temperature. As it declines we are more susceptible to night time cortisol spikes even from mild stress such as light & noise.
“Brain Fog”, Memory & Mood
Low mood & motivation are due to a powerful link between low estrogen & low serotonin, one of our mood hormones.
Estrogen increases the feel good hormones that have a calming effect on the brain, boost memory & mood. Estrogen also inhibits Cortisol (a stress hormone)
Progesterone is linked to mental health & can prevent panic attacks.
All of this leaves us vulnerable to anxiety, panic & brain fog.
Phew, Its Hot!
Our tolerance to heat reduces due to slower blood pressure changes. Our Thirst sensation flattens & we start to sweat sooner. Then there are the “Hot Flashes”
Recovery Takes So Long!
All of the above can make recovery very hard. This sucks as if we struggle to recover we don’t adapt to the training & get fitter.
Making Life Easier Hacks
Regular bedtime. Don’t eat 2hr before going to bed(digestion interfers with REM sleep). Keep away from stimulants; caffeine, alcohol, screens. Cool bedroom. Sleep aids such as tart cherry juice & valerian root can help.
BCAA before & after exercise counter central nervous system fatigue, this helps reduce brain fog. BCAA circulating in our blood stream also helps to stimulate muscle protein synthesis. (2.5g Leucine per serve)
Pre exercise cooling & hydration, cool water neck ties/buffs. Cold low CHO(1-3% CHO) electrolyte drink. Plain water doesn’t cut it! Make your own 1/16th tsp table salt, 1tsp maple syrup, 600ml water.
Drink to a schedule during long training sessions
Post exercise cooling e.g. cool shower, cold water immersion
Eat watery fruits & veggies throughout the day
Have a Recovery Routine
Don’t skimp on sleep
Cold Water immersion for 2-5min is very effective & doesn’t have to be your whole body!
Nutrition & hydration within 30min
Foam rolling, mobilisers
Gentle activity that feeds the parasympathetic nervous system e.g. yin yoga
· Sounder Sleep
· Quicker Recovery
· Improved memory
· Better Performance in the Heat
· Mojo Returns