New research from the Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH) and the University of Edinburgh has found that there is now an urgent need for both sport and wider society to be more inclusive in supporting women experiencing the menopause, helping them to continue being physically active and prioritising their health and wellbeing.
The Moving Through Menopause study found that the symptoms are, in fact, a barrier to being active, with 57 per cent of those asked saying that they had seen a drop in their activity levels. Furthermore, 94 per cent said they had seen a change in mood, such as low self-esteem, anxiety or mood swings.
Interestingly, those women who met UK Chief Medical Officers physical activity guidelines reported enjoying greater mental wellbeing than those who didn’t.
As such, the research emphasises the need for more awareness and education in both sport and healthcare settings regarding the menopause and its impact on physical activity and mental health, with the aim being to support menopause-friendly and specific exercise spaces.
Jo Anderson, director of influence and change at SAMH, said: “The recommendations set out in this report can make a real and positive difference to women’s lives, empowering them to become or stay active, while at the same time supporting their mental health and wellbeing.
“The need for change is clear and SAMH stands ready to play our part. This research is a solid foundation from which to expand our work relating to the menopause, and support women to be healthy and well in this critical life stage.”
Focusing on different types of exercise can help you reap various different benefits, so it would perhaps be advisable to combine cardiovascular exercise with weight training.
Symptoms of menopause include anxiety, low mood and irritability, changes in skin condition and quality, difficulty sleeping and weight gain, all of which can be helped by increasing your levels of physical activity.
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