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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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3 Can exercise help with symptoms?

This is a difficult question to answer with certainty, with some studies saying that exercise has no direct impact on menopause symptoms. There is, however, a strong case for the indirect benefits of exercise on symptoms. In particular, Burrell et al. (2014) point to the effects of exercise in:

  • protecting and improving pelvic floor function
  • reducing the stress which can exacerbate symptoms of menopause
  • helping with body composition and weight, by increasing muscle and reducing fat weight
  • reducing anxiety and improving mood by giving your cells the ‘happy hormones’ – serotonin and dopamine – rather than adrenaline and cortisol
  • supporting good sleep.

The benefits of exercise in menopause: a summary

In menopause, exercise can:

  1. reduce the severity of menopause symptoms
  2. reduce stress and, therefore, cortisol levels
  3. support women in feeling more engaged with and in control of their bodies
  4. improve mood and reduce anxiety
  5. improve cognitive function
  6. improve sleep patterns
  7. improve self-esteem and confidence
  8. help us to manage our weight
  9. challenge the loss of muscle that occurs with age, keeping us strong
  10. keep our joints mobile and our muscles flexible
  11. protect our bones from the effects of osteoporosis
  12. protect our cardiovascular health
  13. protect brain health
  14. help to strengthen the pelvic floor
  15. improve a woman’s prospects of getting through menopause to their later years in robust health.

(Burrell et al., 2014; Mayo Clinic, 2021)