Menopause – advice for jog leaders
We are working to help our joggers learn about menopause, and help our jogging groups to become as welcoming as possible to those going through menopause, with the jogscotland #MenopauseFriendly campaign.
Before reading this page, we recommend you read Menopause and running – introduction.
Why should jog leaders care about menopause?
It’s possible that many of your joggers might be struggling with menopausal symptoms – you may even have had some leave the group because their symptoms were too difficult to deal with, and you might never have known the reason. For some, staying active through menopause can be a challenge, but physical activity can also really help manage symptoms, so helping people stay with the group could be a real help to them.
We’d like to help our jog leaders to support their joggers through menopause because it’s one of the barriers that can prevent people from getting, or staying, active. We believe passionately that staying active in sociable groups is hugely positive throughout life, for both physical and mental wellbeing.
In return for taking some simple steps, we hope you’ll find more of your members stick with jogging through menopause. You can’t solve all the challenges they may face, but you can encourage them to stay active, boost their confidence, and normalise conversations about menopause to reduce feelings of isolation.
- Menopause friendly jogging group logo
We are now offering our Menopause friendly jogging group logo. Groups are welcome to use this logo online if the jog leaders pledge to take steps to make their group more menopause friendly. It is designed with both the jogscotland logo, and a ‘fast forward’ logo, to show that you don’t have to put your life on pause for the menopause.
To use the logo, we request that jog leaders:
- Pledge to educate themselves on the symptoms and challenges for joggers that can come with menopause, and continue to stay informed for as long as the group uses the logo. Before using the logo, they must have read the jogscotland website’s three menopause pages – Menopause and running, Menopause – advice for joggers and Menopause – advice for jog leaders. If possible, we also recommend reading the menopause pages from the NHS Inform website: Particularly helpful are Menopause, Signs and Symptoms of Menopause, Menopause and your mental wellbeing, Supporting someone through the menopause, After the menopause.
- Pledge to make sessions supportive to joggers going through menopause, using the tips on this page.
- Pledge to share information about running and menopause on the group’s social media to help inform joggers and normalise it as a topic of conversation.
Please register to use the logo via this online form so that we know about the good work you’re doing! You can then download the logo in many different formats from the bottom of this page.
For as long as you are using the logo, we’d ask you to take active steps to make sure your group is menopause-friendly.
In a similar way to the I’m here badge (which shows that you are open to talking about mental health at your group), the menopause friendly logo is a simple way to show your joggers that you are keen to support them as they run through menopause.
Don’t forget to let your joggers know about the steps you’re taking, and you can also use that information when advertising the group to new joggers – it might well encourage someone to come along who might otherwise feel uncertain.
Once you start using the logo, please do tag us on social media or send us links and we’d be delighted to promote your participation on the jogscotland social media channels. You can use the #MenopauseFriendly hashtag, too.
- I have no personal experience of menopause – can I still support my joggers through it?
Yes! The advice on this page is designed to be useful for everyone, whether or not you have personal experience of menopause.
Whether you’re a man who will never experience menopause, are young and menopause seems a long way off, or your own menopause was trouble-free, you can still use the tips on this page create the right conditions at your group for people to feel supported through menopause, whatever your personal experience.
- Get talking
You don’t have to force people into in-depth group discussions to make your group menopause-friendly. One of the most powerful things you can do is to start to drop the word menopause into the normal business of your group. You’ll very likely find that anybody who wants to, will then start to feel more comfortable chatting about it and conversations will arise naturally. They might talk to you directly, or to other group members. For example:
- Share posts in your facebook group/other social media about menopause, particularly how it relates to running. We’ll be posting more of these ourselves on the jogscotland facebook, twitter and Instagram accounts which you can share, and/or you can source your own.
- Mention it in your welcome or warm-ups – make it standard to give people an option eg. “Remember, today’s session is not a race, it’s OK to run at your own pace. That’s true whether you’re recovering from illness or injury, are feeling the effects of menopause, or have just had a tiring week.”
- If you are experiencing menopause yourself and are happy to talk about the way it affects you, go ahead. Telling your group “I’ll be tail running this week because the menopause fatigue is bad” is a great way to lead.
- Humour can often help people dealing with difficult experiences, but should only be used if you’re sure it will be well-received. Frequent cracks about hot flushes might make someone feel they can’t talk about the more complex realities of menopause without it being treated as a joke. If in doubt, leave it to the people who are experiencing it to crack the jokes if they feel like it. For some people, knowing the people around them take menopause seriously can create a safe haven to discuss it honestly.
- Practical things you can do
- Think about how to offer a variety of difficulty levels in your group, that are available to all. For example, offer out and back sessions where everyone covers their own distance; introduce a walking group or Jeffing group (Jeffing = walk/run intervals, not done as a stepping stone to improvement, but as an end in themselves).
- Make it easy for joggers to move between difficulty levels from week to week as symptoms fluctuate, without them needing to explain why. Listen to your joggers when they tell you they don’t feel up to running hard/fast today. It can be tough to work out who needs encouragement to push themselves and who needs to be given a break, but bear in mind that menopause symptoms can be overwhelming and might be a genuine reason for needing an easier session.
- Start and end your sessions somewhere with toilets that are open and free to use. This will reassure those dealing with issues like incontinence, heavy menstrual bleeding, or needing frequent trips to the loo. It will also be popular with everyone else!
- Think about how you could help joggers who might want to shed layers due to hot flushes and temperature changes during running. Can you offer to carry a coat or jumper? Is there a safe spot people can leave them mid-run and circle back to collect them?
- Remember that “brain fog” is a common symptom of menopause and might include poor memory or concentration. Keep your instructions clear, and tell your joggers it’s fine to ask you to repeat instructions for the session that they might have forgotten.
- Listen, non-judgementally, if someone talks to you about their menopause experiences. By all means offer suggestions if they ask for them, but also bear in mind that they might not be looking for a solution – sometimes just being able to say out loud what’s happening to you is valuable.
- Use your core jog leader skills – encourage and praise people for what they have achieved today, however it might compare to their previous achievements.
- Look for ways to boost joggers’ confidence for things other than speed and performance. For example, an experienced runner who is struggling physically right now can still be a great source of advice for new joggers – perhaps they’d enjoy the opportunity to be a buddy, tailrunner, or just appreciate being mentioned to beginners as a great source of running wisdom and advice.
- Key points to remind your joggers
- Their running lives might change as a result of menopause and that’s OK. They might find they’re slower, or more tired, or need more recovery time and fewer runs per week. They are still a runner.
- It’s fine to run more slowly, or walk, or jog/walk if your body’s telling you to, whether occasionally or permanently – that’s common and doesn’t mean you have to feel bad about yourself, or give up running.
- The journey of being active throughout life is about listening to your body and what it needs, day to day and month to month, not about always pushing yourself to run harder, faster, year in, year out. Responding to what your body needs is the true mark of a lifelong athlete, not pushing yourself to breaking point.
- Menopause is a normal part of life – it can be tough, but you’re probably surrounded by many others who’ve been through it, and chatting about it can be a huge help.
- Many people find that staying active can help with menopause symptoms such as fatigue, depression and anxiety. It’s also beneficial for other changes that occur in our body as we grow older, such as loss of muscle mass and bone density.
- If you feel you can’t continue running right now, that’s OK. Some people find walking, yoga, or other forms of activity suit them best, and some people really do just need to rest for a while. You’re still an important member of the group – keep in touch and/or stay on our social media and if you feel like returning at a later date, we’ll welcome you back.
- “Brain fog” is a common symptom of menopause and might include poor memory or concentration. It’s fine to ask your jog leader to repeat instructions for the session that you might have forgotten.
- Information is power! Finding out more about menopause can give you more confidence to advocate for yourself with doctors and to talk with friends and family about what’s happening to you. There are useful links below, and chatting with others can also be a great source of knowledge.
- Useful links
- The NHS Inform website has an excellent section on menopause, including pages on signs and symptoms, treatments, and supporting someone else through menopause.
- Menopause café – organises get togethers where people can chat about menopause, and a festival called Flush Fest.
- Dr Juliet McGrattan writes on women’s health and running, – dip into her site, or view her articles tagged ‘menopause’.
- Balance menopause – website run by Dr Louise Newson with a huge library of articles on menopause-related topics, and an associated app to help you track symptoms. Particularly strong on language inclusive of trans and non-binary people.
- Menopause and pelvic health – article by pelvic health physio Jo Dafforn for Nuffield Health, discussing 5 common symptoms and treatments.
- Menopause and diet – information and advice from the Association of UK Dietitians.
- Menopausal symptoms and cancer treatment – article by Macmillan Cancer Support. As well as discussing cancer-related menopause, has a good overview of menopause, symptoms and treatments.
- Menopause and running – what do clinicians and women need to know? By physiotherapist Claire Callaghan. A technical, but interesting, article focusing on the physical effects of menopause on our joints, bones and muscles.
- Download the Menopause Friendly Jogging Group logos
For each version of the logo you’d like to download below, click the link, and then save the image.
Circle with transparent background, for dropping onto photos etc. https://jogscotland.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/Menopause-circle-with-transparent-background-20211119-183201.png
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