Menopause, Me and Physical Activity

Older woman taking part in dance class

Published 2018

“It’s the loss of everything I used to be and there’s nothing to replace the person I used to be except this new person that doesn’t sleep and is consequently a bit unhinged… it’s so horrible” Research Participant 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Menopause is a taboo subject in our society and women going through the menopause are missing out on the benefits of being physically active. Women in Sport wanted to find out more.

Our innovative research used a mixed-method approach of a national survey (427 women) and focus groups (28 women) to explore active and inactive women’s (aged 45-60) relationship with sport and physical activity during menopause.

Our Menopause, Me and Physical Activity report provides insights from the research and recommendations for sport deliverers to support women to maintain and re-engage with physical activity during menopause.

We also provide a summary of the research in Supporting Women to Get Active, which highlights the importance of this issue for women’s long-term health and makes a number of recommendations to encourage the sport, exercise and health sectors to work together to support women during this time.

REPORT CONTENTS:

  • Women’s core values during menopause
  • The meaning of menopause
  • Barriers to being active
  • Menopause and physical activity
  • Supporting women to be active during menopause

KEY FINDINGS

  • Menopause is a complex stage of life that represents both loss and a time for re-appraising one’s life.
  • Women value feeling good and looking good most during menopause, closely followed by spending time with friends and family.
  • Menopausal symptoms, low exercise self-efficacy and physical activity knowledge, social stigma and lack of social support are significant barriers to participation.
  • Just under a third of women drop off from physical activity during menopause, yet the desire to be active is high.
  • Physical activity can help women manage and cope better with their symptoms.
  • Menopause is a significant opportunity to re-introduce and support physical activity behaviours.

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR SPORT & PHYSICAL ACTIVITY PROVIDERS:

  • Empower women to feel change is good and being active can be a ‘new beginning’.
  • Use real women’s stories to inspire women and break the taboo of menopause.
  • Align offers to women’s core values of ‘feeling good’ and ‘looking good’.
  • Provide offers that are flexible, low commitment and menopause friendly.
  • Give guidance and reassurance on ‘safe’ physical activity.
  • Provide and encourage opportunities for social support.

 

Related Articles

Menopause Insight Pack

Published 2019 Summary This Insight Pack gives an overview of menopause research across the sector as well as Women in Sport insight, in order to provide in-depth knowledge on the relationship between women and physical activity as they transition through menopause into later life.   Content Context surrounding this phase of life Key statistics about […]

Podcast: Menopause And Exercise

We chat about menopause and exercise with Dr Heather Currie, gynaecologist and founder of Menopause Matters magazine, Jane Dowling from Meno and Me, and Clare Taylor, Insight Officer at Women in Sport. If you would like to support Women in Sport’s work and the podcast, please donate to us via our website.  

Silver Linings – Engaging Women In Sport In Later Life

Published 2017 “As I get older and now the children have left home, I’m feeling the empty nest syndrome…so it’s important to have a network at the club – it’s all about having a circle of friends”.  Diane  Executive Summary Why are women continuing to miss out on the benefits that sport and physical activity […]