Positive psychologist Miriam Akhtar and fitness expert Jane Wake give their advice on how to build inner strength – mentally and physically. 

We all respond differently to changes in our lives. Some of us can embrace change positively, others find it difficult. For women, one of life’s biggest changes comes with the menopause, which is a huge hormonal shift affecting both body and mind.

Psychologist Miriam Akhtar talks about mental muscle

The good news is that at this time of life, your brain can function better in some ways – your ability to problem solve and make connections is improved. You have a greater sense of perspective and a strength in wisdom emerges.

Taking positive steps to deal with situations that life throws at you demands a strength of mind, and some of the physical transformations, such as bladder weakness and vaginal dryness may certainly test your resilience. Resilience is something you can grow at any point in life, so why not try some of these tips:

Cultivate gratitude

The menopause represents the loss of fertility and as we age it is natural to sustain other losses. Practising gratitude helps generates positive emotions.

Practise optimism

Try to think of how the cause of a negative event might notbe you.

Declutter your life

It helps to travel light as you go through a transition. The menopause is a time to let go of people and situations that no longer serve you or bring you joy and clear the space for new things to come in.

Harness your strengths

Knowing your strengths and using them can help you. Your greatest potential for growth comes from playing to your strengths, it’s the way to excel with ease.

Fitness expert Jane Wake talks about inner strength

During menopause your muscles are affected by the changes in your body. Decreasing hormones are the biggest reason why women in the peri and menopausal stages of life will have issues relating to muscle strength.  Both the testosterone and the oestrogen – specifically the oestradiol, plays a major role in maintaining and promoting muscle integrity. As these hormones lower, muscles can lose connection and strength and lead to issues such as incontinence or pelvic weakness. Without exercise, the pelvic floor muscle, like any muscle in the body ‘atrophies’ or gets smaller with age. So bladder weakness is often an unwelcome change. Some women will maintain a strong inner core – but this is getting rarer due to sedentary living. In fact, one in three women in the UK experience bladder weakness at some point in their lives.

What can be done?

There is an over reliance on quick fix solutions such as incontinence pads. But there are things you can do to improve the situation.

Tips for pelvic floor strength

Hold good posture! Always sit or stand tall and when seated, sit on your sit bones with your pelvis straight underneath you.

Find the pelvic floor muscles by first imagining you are stopping a fart, then stopping a wee, and then think of drawing these two feelings in together and up inside you Breathe! Allow time for the muscle to expand, lower and release in between contractions  Aim to do 20 contractions in a row and keep trying to do as many times as you can throughout the day.

It can be hard doing these exercises, especially when your pelvic floor is weak. To effectively train a weakened pelvic floor you need to be aiming for around 100 to 200 contractions daily.  So I recommend the new INNOVO® Shorts. With printed electrode panels, INNOVO® looks like a pair of ordinary cycling shorts, but the non-invasive NMES technology stimulates your pelvic floor muscles, enabling180 perfect contractions of the pelvic floor in just 30 minutes.

INNOVO® lifts and lowers the pelvic floor without you having to try and find it.

Most importantly – it makes you aware of where your pelvic floor is, so you’ll find yourself naturally drawing up or releasing your pelvic floor – just because you can.

Tried and tested

Sally, 39, says:I never really understood all the talk about doing pelvic floor exercises, then I had my two sons the best part of a decade ago and everything became clear! Running for a bus, laughing too hard, even sneezing, all suddenly became potential problems which could result in tiny but still embarrassing leaks. And perhaps because I’d never done the exercises before I found them really challenging, and even a bit stressful. But thanks to INNOVO that’s all changed. It takes all the worry out of doing my exercises and now those little leaks are in the past.

Pippa, 38, says:Having had lots of surgery
I was a little hesitant to believe this would work – but hey presto – after just four weeks
I can already see an improvement. I will definitely continue and see how things go in the nextfour weeks.

Get £10 off

INNOVO® is available on Amazon and restorethefloor.com for £249 or £41.50/month over six months. Get £10 off INNOVO® Shorts now. Use discount code INNOVO-TS19 at checkout.