Menopause And Physical Activity


As you get closer to menopause and after your periods have stopped, exercise can help you maintain a healthy body. Physical activity has been shown to help in managing some of the physiological changes that take place in our bodies at this time. There are also menopause-specific exercises that can reduce symptoms.

What is menopause?

Menopause is a normal life stage that occurs when anyone assigned female at birth (AFAB) stops having periods, typically experienced between the ages of 40 and 60. As your hormone levels start to change, you could start to experience symptoms before it happens (perimenopause). Your body will go through many changes as a result of this.


Menopause is an experience that is unique to each individual, but there are some common symptoms including:

  • Experiencing hot flushes
  • Having less pleasure during sex
  • Aches and pains in the joints
  • Having less control over your urine and/or bowel movements
  • Struggle in maintaining control of your weight
  • Poor sleep

Exercise helps manage the effects of decreasing levels of oestrogen

Higher levels of exercise can help to reduce the severity of menopause and may assist with some of your menopausal symptoms.1

Regular exercise might:

  • Reduce your hot flushes
  • Help you manage your weight
  • Boost your self-esteem
  • Improve your mood
  • Help you to sleep

After menopause, you also have a greater risk of developing osteoporosis, a disorder that results in your bones becoming weaker. This is due to the fact that your body produces less of the hormone oestrogen, which plays a crucial role in maintaining bone density.2

Participating in regular physical activity can assist in the maintenance of healthy bones and lessen the likelihood of those bones breaking or fracturing if you experience a fall. The more you use your bones and give them tasks to perform, the stronger they will get. You should try to do both muscle-strengthening exercises and weight-bearing exercises to help keep your bones strong.

If you are feeling discomfort in your joints, you should make an appointment with your doctor. They may advise you to see a physiotherapist, who will be able to recommend specific exercises for you to help you.

Prevents muscle loss

Sarcopenia typically affects older AFAB but can also happen in the middle ages and may be linked to menopause. Sarcopenia is the loss of skeletal muscle mass and strength due to age-related changes in both the function of the muscles and the size of the muscle cells (muscle fibres). If the transition to menopause is what leads to sarcopenia, then menopause may be a crucial time to implement strategies to mitigate changes in muscle mass and function that contribute to physical disability and frailty later in life.3

Decreases the risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes

Oestrogen plays a vital part in regulating the menstrual cycle and also contributes to heart and metabolic health, for example:  

  • Oestrogen can provide some protection against coronary artery disease 
  • It can reduce your likelihood of having a heart attack 
  • It can keep your cholesterol levels under control and lowers the likelihood of fatty plaques forming on your artery walls

As you get older, blood vessels can become stiffer which is caused by high blood pressure - a factor that raises the possibility of having a heart attack or a stroke. During and after menopause, the coronary arteries will also narrow due to the body gradually making less oestrogen than it used to. This means that where oestrogen previously protected the lining of the artery walls and stopped plaque from building up, the lack of the hormone in your menopausal years can harm your heart health which should be offset by a good amount of physical exercise.4

According to some studies, a moderate level of exercise has been shown to lower the risk of type 2 diabetes in AFAB, especially after menopause.5

Improves bone density

Resistance training and weight-bearing activities like running, walking, and climbing stairs can help with bone strength and prevent bone loss.

What types of exercise are best during menopause?

Resistance training

Resistance exercise is a kind of exercise that has grown in popularity over the past ten years. It causes the muscles to contract against external resistance to improve strength, tone, mass, or endurance. Resistance training works by producing microscopic rips or damage to the muscle cells, which are swiftly mended by the body for the muscles to renew and grow stronger. 

Weight lifting

Throughout perimenopause and menopause, the ovaries' production of hormones (particularly oestrogen) declines, and the adrenal glands and fat cells begin increased sex hormone production. This can lead to decreases in bone mass and muscle mass and if the person is inactive it can lead to weight gain. Research indicates that weight lifting not only increases muscle mass but also preserves efficient food metabolism and improves the hormonal balance in your body.6

Muscle strengthening 

Strength training can involve the use of resistance bands, free weights, or your body weight to strengthen all major muscle groups - particularly the spinal muscles that are crucial for good posture. 

Pelvic floor exercises

Your body can go through a lot of changes during menopause, but one of the hardest is the weakening of your pelvic floor made up of the muscles, ligaments, and connective tissues that hold up your pelvic organs. When the pelvic floor becomes weakened, it can result in a variety of symptoms including incontinence, prolapse, and intimacy issues.

To offset these changes, you may wish to start doing pelvic floor exercises which act as a workout and help strengthen your pelvic floor. This will help you gain better control of your bladder and stop mild to moderate incontinence.


Menopause can result in a reduction in oestrogen production which causes a variety of physical changes that affect your heart, muscle, bone, and metabolic health. Regular exercise and keeping a healthy weight might help reduce some of these menopausal symptoms. So, whether you’ve always had an active lifestyle or you've never exercised before, it can be a great time to start.


  1. Dąbrowska-Galas M, Dąbrowska J, Ptaszkowski K, Plinta R. High physical activity level may reduce menopausal symptoms. Medicina (Kaunas). 2019 Aug 11;55(8):466. Available from:
  2. Bhatnagar A, Kekatpure AL. Postmenopausal osteoporosis: a literature review. Cureus. 2022 Sep 20; Available from:
  3. KO J, PARK YM. Menopause and the loss of skeletal muscle mass in women. Iran J Public Health. 2021 Feb;50(2):413–4. Available from:
  4. Chrysant SG. The cardiometabolic benefits of exercise in postmenopausal women. J Clin Hypertens (Greenwich). 2020 Sep 10;22(9):1691–3. Available from:
  5. Cho JH, Kwon HM, Park SE, Yoo JH, Han KD, Rhee EJ, et al. Effects of exercise on reducing diabetes risk in Korean women according to menopausal status. CPP. 2022 Apr 304(2):75–86. Available from:
  6. Mishra N, Mishra VN, Devanshi. Exercise beyond menopause: Dos and Don’ts. J Midlife Health. 2011;2(2):51–6. Available from: 

Hana Hailu

Master's degree, Brain Science, University of Glasgow

Hana Hailu is an accomplished academic with a strong foundation in the field of brain science and pharmacology. She is currently pursuing her Master's degree in Brain Science from the prestigious University of Glasgow (2021-2022). Prior to this, Hana earned her Bachelor of Applied Science (BASc) in Applied Pharmacology from Queen Margaret University, where she studied from September 2017 to September 2021. With her deep knowledge and dedication, Hana is poised to make significant contributions to the world of neuroscience and pharmacology. presents all health information in line with our terms and conditions. It is essential to understand that the medical information available on our platform is not intended to substitute the relationship between a patient and their physician or doctor, as well as any medical guidance they offer. Always consult with a healthcare professional before making any decisions based on the information found on our website.
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