Strong like a girl

Photo of Sandra Ostapova

Women's Health Facts

We asked Sandraostapovapilates to share some of the key women's health facts from her Strong like a Girl workshop:

Did you know the average menstrual cycle is 28 days and split into two phases:

  • The follicular phase - days 1-14
  • The luteal phase - days 15-28

Ironically it is during her period and in the days after that a woman's exercise physiology is most like man’s.

During the follicular phase of their cycle women are stronger and have faster recovery so it is a great time for exercise.

The luteal phase is what we associate most of the negative symptoms with: it is harder to make muscle as progesterone turns up catabolism, metabolism and cravings change as oestrogen reduces carb-burning ability (saving for pregnancy).

Oestrogen and progesterone increase water restroom in the body and blood plasma volume drops potentially resulting in bloating and spatial cognition is reduced. While this might not sound like a lot of fun it is important to remember how incredible our bodies are. It is ok to give your body what it needs.

Changes during the menopause

During the menopause the composition of the body changes. It is harder to make and maintain muscle mass meaning it is harder to produce power - forcing you to slow down. Less power production means it is time to focus more on resistance training but make sure you drink more water to keep hydrated. Don't worry if it feels like recovery takes longer after exercise. This is normal, just listen to your body, it will tell you what you need.

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