The research is all part of a wider campaign to find out what prevents women in midlife from participating in sport, and how we can change that
Physical activity and the menopause isn’t often talked about – but it should be. Almost a third of women aged 41 to 60 are not meeting the Chief Medical Officer’s guidelines of 150 minutes per week of exercise, while a fifth are not achieving even 30 minutes a week.
Why? That’s where Women in Sport come in. They’ve just shared their ground-breaking new research into the lives of women in midlife, examining every detail to fully understand their experiences of menopause and what is preventing them from being physically active.
The research found that multiple physical, psychological, and social midlife and menopause factors are preventing women from getting active at this time. Women in midlife feel largely ignored, invisible, undervalued and that they don’t have a right to sport and exercise. Yet sustaining fitness and activity at this point can be life-changing when it comes to dealing with menopausal symptoms, as well as overall wellbeing.
Women in Sport believe that women have the right to have fun and be healthy and active, and we wholeheartedly agree. The barriers that women face in achieving this must be acknowledged and addressed by society as a whole, and urgently. Women in Sport have called for the following:
- Expanded perceptions of what sporty can look like, as well as increased awareness of the endless possibilities to be physically active.
- Improved education around the menopause. as well as promotion of sport and exercise as a simple and accessible way for women to take care of themselves at this stage.
- Better workplace policies around the menopause that take into account the need for exercise to nurture physical and mental wellbeing.
- More visibility of midlife women in marketing within the sport and leisure sector.
“Women start out life feeling far too visible and dealing with a running commentary on their appearance, but by midlife have traditionally been all but invisible. At last, our voices are beginning to be heard and the menopause talked about openly on the airwaves for the first time,” says Stephanie Hilborne OBE, Chief Executive of Women in Sport.
This research has already created change within the industry – we’ll be sharing more stories about these over the next few weeks.