The impact of physical activity on psychological wellbeing in women aged 45-55 years during Covid: A mixed methods investigation.

Kerry Lum, Liz Simpson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Evidence suggests that being physically active may improve quality of life through the menopausal transition. This study is one of the first to investigate how meeting the UK Physical Activity Guidelines (PAG) impacts quality of life, stress, coping and menopausal symptoms in UK midlife women, aged 45-55 years, during the unfolding Covid pandemic (Phase 1 quantitative, n=164). The study also explored their motivation to undertake regular physical activity during Covid lockdown (Phase 2 qualitative, n=4). Explanatory sequential mixed methods design was used to collate quantitative (survey) and qualitative (focus group) data. Participants who met PAG experienced fewer depressive symptoms and perceived stress, had better physical and mental health and quality of life, than women who did not. This was supported by focus group discussions reporting lack of facilities, time constraints, reduced social support and existing health complaints as barriers to physical activity. Factors motivating women to exercise during Covid lockdown were benefits for physical and mental health, and support from friends (Qualitative). Women are postmenopausal for one third of their lives, health interventions need to promote positive healthy ageing around menopause. Menopausal changes could be used by clinicians as cues to action to promote female health and well-being. Clinicians should be promoting the health benefits of exercise and making women aware of the importance of aiming to meet the PAG for optimal health benefits. Women should be encouraged to increase PA levels by making plans, setting goals and being supported and encouraged by exercising with friends or family, as a way to better control menopausal symptoms.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-25
Number of pages6
JournalMaturitas
Volume153
Early online date5 Aug 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 5 Aug 2021

Keywords

  • menopause
  • Menopausal symptoms
  • physical activity
  • Covid
  • quality of life
  • stress and coping

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