What is Menopause?
Menopause primarily affects individuals who are assigned female at birth, and it marks the natural ending of menstrual periods and a decline in reproductive hormones, typically occurring in their late 40s or early 50s. It is a natural phase of life, but its impact can vary widely from person to person; this is due to factors like genetics, lifestyle, and overall health.
How does Menopause affect people in sport?
Athletes may experience hot flashes, night sweats, fatigue, and joint pain.
Decreased estrogen levels can affect bone density and muscle mass, potentially increasing the risk of injury and impacting strength and endurance.
Hormonal fluctuations can lead to mood swings and anxiety.
Hot flashes and temperature sensitivities may require adjustments in clothing, training environments, and hydration strategies.
Menopausal women may experience negative changes in energy levels and sleep patterns.
Inclusivity and Support
Creating an inclusive and supportive environment for menopausal athletes is essential to help them navigate these challenges and continue their athletic pursuits. In this blog, we will discover the steps you can take to make your sport Menopause friendly
How do I create a Menopause safe space in my sport?
Education and Awareness of Menopause
Begin by raising awareness among staff, trainers, and athletes about menopause and its potential effects on women in sports.
Provide educational materials and workshops to promote a better understanding of menopause-related challenges. This can include small things such as hanging posters up in the clubhouse.
Encourage open and empathetic communication within sports facilities. Women should feel comfortable discussing their menopause-related concerns with coaches, trainers, and teammates.
Establish a designated point of contact or support system for menopausal women to address their specific needs.
Menopausal women often experience hot flashes and increased sensitivity to temperature changes. Ensure that sporting facilities have climate control options, such as fans or cooler areas, to accommodate these needs.
Emphasise the importance of hydration to athletes, especially during workouts, as menopausal women may experience increased thirst.
Provide easy access to water stations and encourage athletes to carry water bottles and take regular water breaks.
Consider offering flexible training schedules that accommodate the energy levels and preferences of menopausal women. Early morning or evening workouts may be more comfortable for some.
Allow for rest and recovery days when needed, and ensure a non-judgemental environment when athletes decide to miss a session.
Inclusive Training Programs
Develop training programs that take into account the physical changes that menopausal women may experience, such as decreased bone density and muscle mass. This can include splitting your sessions into different age grades as an example.
Supportive sportswear for Menopause
Offer comfortable and moisture-wicking sportswear that helps manage hot flashes and keeps women dry during workouts. Check with your kit suppliers that you’re purchasing the best kit for your athletes.
Consider having a designated private changing area for women to freshen up after experiencing hot flashes.
Mental Health Resources
Menopause can also impact mental health. Provide or encourage access to mental health resources and counselling services for athletes who may be struggling with mood swings or anxiety.
Celebrate the achievements of menopausal athletes to inspire others and break down stereotypes.
Foster a supportive community that encourages women to continue participating in sports and fitness activities.
Understanding Menopause in Sport eLearning course
Do you want to learn more about creating a menopause safe space in sport? Check out our eLearning course, which is launching in 2024.
You can register your interest to be notified when the course goes live