Although most middle-aged women view exercise as a valid menopause treatment, many find being physically active on a regular basis particularly difficult.1 Out of all types of exercises, walking seems to be favored by women going through the midlife transition.
To create a solution tailored to their needs, Canadian researchers from the University of Alberta assessed the characteristics of a walking program to alleviate menopause symptoms.
This 2020 qualitative descriptive study was conducted on 20 peri- and postmenopausal women in their 50s, complaining of moderate to severe symptoms. They were patients at menopause clinics in Edmonton, Canada.
Women were assigned to five focus groups where they shared their menopausal struggles and physical activity habits. They also described what an ideal walking exercise program would look like to them.
Overall, there was high interest in walking to relieve menopause symptoms and stay healthy.
It should also consider varying levels of physical ability among women, while clearly focusing on specific health goals it would help them achieve.
Women also shared that they would not only like to join an in-person community of other female walkers, but would also like to have access to a social network platform that would keep them motivated and engaged.
Interestingly, most participants in the study felt socially isolated throughout the menopausal transition and lacked connection with other middle-aged women who share their struggles.
What Does It Mean?
Walking as a means of alleviating symptoms can be highly therapeutic for menopausal women on multiple levels. This study offers valuable insights that can be used to create similar programs, both individual and community-based.
The proposed walking program for menopause relief would encompass middle-aged women's needs and health realities. It would also promote a simple, light, and enjoyable type of exercise that women may find much easier to carry on with than other more demanding regimens.
Such program would also address women's need to socialize and have a support network, including an accountability partner, who would help them feel included, motivated, and safe to share common midlife struggles.
- BMC Women's Health. (2020). Walking together: women with the severe symptoms of menopause propose a platform for a walking program; outcome from focus groups. Retrieved March 24, 2021 from https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/s12905-020-01037-y
- BMC. (2020). Women's views about physical activity as a treatment for vasomotor menopausal symptoms: a qualitative study. Retrieved March 24, 2021 from https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/s12905-020-01063-w