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Talking about the menopause: symptoms, support and the role of exercise
Talking about the menopause: symptoms, support and the role of exercise

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5.3 Environment

Our environment includes everything around us and within us affecting every part of our lives. We often think of our physical environment as that which is around us, such as our village, town or city, and more widely, the planet. But environment is much more than this. It is everything that we experience that finds its way past the barriers of our skin and consciousness.

On a macro level, our physical environment has become more stressful for our bodies due to factors like increased exposure to chemical toxins, more noise, greater crowding of our living spaces, and poorer air quality. While on a micro level, what we put into and onto our bodies, and our minds, is really important as well. Our food comes from poorer quality soil, we eat more processed food, we subject our bodies to alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine, and we use beauty and skincare products containing potentially harmful chemical substances that are absorbed through our skin. Also, many people will have spent two or more decades taking contraceptive medication, exposing their bodies to synthetic hormones that can interrupt the body’s normal cycles and endocrine balance.

As indicated above, the mind is also subject to environmental factors. Our televisions are on more than ever, exposing us to often negative content, e.g. the news, that, even if we don’t think we are paying attention, finds its way in. And then there’s the ‘information highway’, the constant stream of random, fragmented, disconnected and often irrelevant information that pours into us through our smart phones and other devices. Our brains are not wired to handle this constant flow of information.

All of this stress is absorbed over the years into every cell of our bodies, where it causes ageing and makes us less resilient to further stress. And this can really come home to roost at menopause.