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Exercise and Menopause

Updated: May 8

Menopause is an inevitable transition in every woman’s life. It occurs when a woman goes 12 consecutive months without having a menstrual cycle. Menopause has three stages: perimenopause, menopause and postmenopause. During this time there is a reduction in the production of the hormones oestrogen and progesterone which stimulate the menstrual cycle. The transition from perimenopause to postmenopause usually lasts 7 years or more. Menopause is associated with an array of symptoms the most common being sleep disturbance, hot flashes, night sweats, depression and irritability. It is also related to an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases, osteoporosis, stroke, reduced muscle mass and a loss of bone density. 

Exercise has been shown to significantly reduce menopausal symptoms and improve health outcomes. In addition women who exercise regularly have fewer sleep disturbances and improved mood. Resistance exercise in particular has been shown to significantly reduce the decline in muscular strength and loss of bone density in menopausal women. This in turn can reduce the risk of osteoporosis which is a common condition among women. The lack of oestrogen which occurs in the postmenopausal period increases the risk of cardiovascular disease in particular coronary heart disease. Exercise can also reduce the risk of coronary heart disease in menopausal women. 

It has been shown that hormonal changes which occur during menopause can reduce quality of life. Studies have shown that menopausal women have low levels of physical activity and a sedentary lifestyle which may further lead to reduced quality of life. Adopting a healthy lifestyle which incorporates exercise can help to manage menopausal changes and promote a better quality of life. Menopausal women with high or moderate levels of activity experience less symptoms than those who are inactive. 

This is why here at Performance Therapy Ireland we are big advocates for menopausal women to participate in exercise. It is recommended that women engage in both strength and cardiovascular training to help improve the symptoms of menopause. Research has shown that menopausal women should strength training at least twice per week and engage in cardiovascular training most days of the week to help reduce menopausal symptoms. Performing 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity exercise is recommended. 

Certain cases of menopause require specific intensity of exercise prescription. This is why consulting with a womens health specialist can be helpful.


Contact us for a Womens Health Consultation.


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Zhao M, Sun M, Zhao R, Chen P, Li S. Effects of exercise on sleep in perimenopausal women: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Explore (NY). 2023 Sep-Oct;19(5):636-645. doi: 10.1016/j.explore.2023.02.001. Epub 2023 Feb 8. PMID: 36781319.



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