Women in Sport is focusing on menopause as one of its key strategic aims over the next two years. We want to harness the opportunity that menopause offers to encourage women to take physical activity into the next stage of their lives.
Around 8 in 10 women experience menopause symptoms and they last an average of four years. Menopause typically occurs between ages 45-55 and this is an age group that is also particularly inactive, with 39% of those aged 45-54 not reaching CMO guidelines.
Menopause can make women more at risk of osteoporosis (weakened bones) due to reduced levels of oestrogen as well as contribute to other conditions such as diabetes, stroke and heart disease. Regular exercise can help prevent or manage these conditions, improving health and wellbeing in a number of ways.
Our work so far
Our initial research, Menopause, Me and Physical Activity, 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.
The research showed that women’s perceptions of menopause can influence how they engage with physical activity. Women often experience a feeling of loss or lack of control during this life stage. However, menopause is also a time of reappraisal, and it can also be an opportunity for a new beginning.
Just under a third of women drop off from physical activity during menopause, yet the desire to be active is high. So, we believe that women should be empowered to feel that being active can be a ‘new beginning’.
With funding from players of People’s Postcode Lottery, we are currently continuing our work on menopause. PPL’s funding is supporting a new project to get menopausal women engaged with physical activity, which specifically focuses on women in deprived areas of the UK, where levels of activity are at their lowest.
We are bringing together a group of 30 women who are currently inactive and going through menopause and creating an online community in which they can share their experiences. The interaction will include in-depth interviews, home visits and video diaries.
We will also be campaigning to create awareness around physical activity and menopause and challenge stereotypes about this life stage.