To celebrate World Menopause Month, Ruby, WUKA CEO & Co-Founder, chats to trailblazing women that are breaking taboos and helping others through this stage of life.
This week, Ruby spoke to Lavina Mehta MBE about her journey of perimenopause. We first met a few months ago at a shoot when Lavina fronted WUKA’s first ever billboard campaign as a “leak-free auntie”. Her energy is infectious and I hope you enjoy our conversation
RR: It all started on your channel @feelgoodwithlavina in the pandemic, how did that come about?
LM: In 2019 I did an advent calendar and went live on instagram everyday with an easy to do exercise snack – I was live in the park, in Waitrose- you name it, I was snacking everywhere! I was even doing them on Sky TV on Xmas Day. Fast forward to today, I use my channel to speak only about my perimenopause journey – to break down taboos, normalise the conversation and highlight the options women have – from HRT to exercise and lifestyle changes that can help with midlife.
RR: Have you always been a Personal Trainer?
LM: No! I trained as a PT 5 years ago after leaving the corporate world to focus on being a mum. It was at this time, aged 40, that I began to experience symptoms of perimenopause- something I was initially in denial about. Being South Asian, I realised that not only was it a taboo topic but the way it can affect women from different ethnicities is quite vast. For example, South Asian women can go through menopause 5-6 years earlier than the average white female.
RR: So what is an exercise snack?
LM: “Exercise Snacking®” is a way to help people of ALL ages to FEEL GOOD physically, mentally & reduce risks of chronic diseases. Small bitesize chunks of movement and exercise can be more effective than an hour long workout that we can often struggle to fit into our daily lives. My mantra is “Exercise for Sanity not Vanity®.”
RR: You’re a patron of the Menopause Mandate, can you tell us more about it?
LM: I love my role as patron- Menopause Mandate is a not for profit campaign group of motivated women from all walks of life who share a common interest in perimenopause and menopause. Our ultimate goal is revolutionising the support and advice women receive from both our health service and wider society.
RR: What health risks are women in menopause susceptible to and how can we counter these?
LM: Exercise helps with brain, bone, heart and mental health no more so than in midlife. We lose muscle mass after 30 – sarcopenia- which is why I promote strength training so much. During menopause, we’re more susceptible to cardiovascular disease which is the theme for this years World Menopause Day. Exercise can help reduce these risks.
RR: How has WUKA helped during perimenopause?
LM: Since the shoot, my period has disappeared! It’s been super erratic. I do however recommend WUKA stretch seamless pants for the gym especially when you have PMS symptoms like cramps and bloating in preparation for your period which still hasn’t appeared! I love that they’re seamless so practically invisible under gym wear but also how thin they are- they feel like normal underwear. So genius.
RR: So, what’s next for Lavina?
LM: I have my first book out in May 2024 which is super exciting. It’s a toolkit to help women throughout midlife and beyond with my signature concept of exercise snacking and other tips- I can’t wait to share it with you!
RR: What period advice would you give younger Lavina?
LM: Ironically, when i was younger I actually used periods as an excuse to not do sport but since training in my early 30s, i’ve found exercise really helps manage my PMS symptoms- releasing feel good endorphins, making me feel stronger and empowered so my advice would be don’t be afraid to move on your period. It might feel like the last thing you want to do but done in the right way, it can help you feel your best.
Thank you for your time Lavina – it’s been such a treat. For anyone that’s keen to “snack” , tune into her live streams every Friday at 10am on her YouTube, where all sessions are available to rewatch. You can also keep up to date with her on Instagram & Facebook.
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