Menopause – advice for joggers
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.
The experience of menopause is different for everyone. For some people it may cause minimal issues, but for others it can be physically and mentally overwhelming. We know it might make continuing to jog with your group feel very difficult, but staying active can often help manage symptoms of menopause.
We’d like to support our joggers in staying active through menopause. You’ll find lots of useful information on this page to help you do that. There’s also advice on supporting other people through menopause.
- Menopause friendly jogging groups
We are encouraging our jog leaders to think about how make their groups menopause-friendly by welcoming conversations around menopause and planning flexible sessions to accommodate those who are jogging with menopause symptoms.
We have just launched a ‘menopause friendly jogging group’ logo. 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.
If you see this logo, it means the jog leaders at the group have pledged to:
- Educate themselves on the symptoms of menopause and the challenges of running through it.
- Aim to make their groups supportive to joggers going through menopause, for example with flexible sessions and an openness to talking about menopause.
- Share information about running and menopause on their group’s social media to inform joggers and normalise it as a topic of conversation.
If you see the badge, you’ll know the group is working to make itself a particularly welcoming place for those experiencing menopause to stay active and feel supported.
Your jog group not showing the menopause-friendly badge? Why not send your jog leader the link to our Menopause – advice for jog leaders page and see if they’d consider it?
- Top tips and things to remember
- Your running life might change during/after menopause, and that’s OK. You might find you’re slower, or more tired, or need more recovery time and fewer runs per week. You are still a runner.
- 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.
- 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. Chat to your jog leader about moving between groups from week to week if you need to, or how they can help you adapt sessions to various levels of difficulty (you can find out more about the advice we’re giving jog leaders on how to support you on our Menopause – advice for jog leaders page)
- 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 the group’s social media and if you feel like returning at a later date, they’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.
- If you’re experiencing hot flushes or temperature fluctuation, wear several thin layers rather than one thick one, so you can vary what you wear. Think in advance about how you can carry layers as you shed them – perhaps a pal, or your jog leader, would be happy to take some; perhaps there’s a safe spot you can stash it and return for it; a well-fitting backpack can be surprisingly easy to run with if it’s not too heavy, though carrying it may in turn make you hotter – experiment and see what works best for you.
- If you take a break from running during menopause and then return, be gentle with yourself both physically and emotionally when you start to run again. Start as a beginner again and build up gradually. Don’t try to compare your achievements now with previous years – celebrate that you’re back getting active with your group once more.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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. Chatting with others can be a great source of knowledge, but if you don’t feel comfortable discussing it, there are a lot of useful online resources – some of them are linked below.
- I have no personal experience of menopause – can I still support other joggers in my group through menopause?
Yes! If they want your support, there’s plenty you can do, whether or not you have – or will ever 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 be supportive. Things you can do include:
- 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.
- Bear in mind that menopause symptoms can fluctuate, and might result in other joggers in your group moving up and down difficulty levels between sessions, for reasons they might not want to discuss with you. Respect their decision to tackle an appropriate challenge for themselves each week.
- 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.
- If you have a running buddy who is open about experiencing hot flushes and temperature variations while they jog, perhaps you can offer to carry a layer of clothing as and when they need to remove it. It might mean staying close at hand throughout the session as they might feel very hot one minute and cold the next.
- Beyond your jogging group – other useful tips
- If your symptoms are affecting your everyday life, speak to your doctor to find out what could be done to help. HRT can alleviate symptoms for many, and your GP should support you to decide what’s best for you. Reading up on the resources below and chatting to others with experience of menopause before you visit the doctor, can give you the confidence and knowledge to advocate for yourself.
- Talk to others – realising you are not alone and hearing how others have handled symptoms can be powerful.
- As well as staying active, eating a balanced diet, cutting down on alcohol, and stopping smoking can all contribute to improving menopausal symptoms.
- 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’.
- HRT for runners – an article by Juliet for Women’s Running magazine.
- Menopause and diet – article by Gemma Holloway, registered dietician and jogscotland jog leader.
- 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.
- 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.