Keeping up your running during menopause can be hard! Many symptoms of the perimenopause don’t make you want to stick on your trainers and head out the door. I’m here today to remind you why it’s worth the effort. Why, even if you only manage a few minutes, at a much slower pace than you’d like to go, running is still an excellent thing to do. This blog will focus on mental health reasons and next week I’ll cover the physical ones.
Here are my top 6 mental health reasons (in no particular order!) to keep running through the menopause
A loss of confidence is something that can affect large numbers of women when perimenopause strikes. You suddenly doubt yourself, question your capability at work and start reading articles about imposter syndrome. Running can help. Remember when you started running and the confidence it gave you in yourself. You might not be getting PBs and running further or faster but the ability that running has to give us confidence in our body, to set and achieve small goals and to walk taller and prouder is still there.
2. Better mood
It’s widely known that perimenopause can bring low moods and depression, partly because of all the symptoms you may be struggling with but also because the fluctuating hormone levels affect brain function directly. It’s also common knowledge that exercise can help improve mood by releasing feel good chemicals from our brain. This mood boosting effect can last for hours after you get home too.
Both stress and anxiety levels can be high during perimenopause. You might feel as if you’re actually going to burst or spontaneously combust sometimes. Running is very therapeutic.The meditative sound of your feet striking the pavement along with the circulating endorphins can bring you a sense of calm and wellbeing.
It’s all too easy to seek comfort from a large glass of sauvignon blanc or a family sized bar of Dairy Milk. The menopause is a time of change and it’s common to feel out of control. Your emotions can be all over the place but as a runner you know that a run can restore control, alter your perspective and change your day in a way that wine and chocolate can’t. Let your old friend running be your constant, comfort and coping mechanism.
Yes, running can be a solo endeavour, and that brings lots of benefits but it can also be the thing that connects us to others. Women often become more socially isolated in midlife. Social health is an important factor in over all good health. In fact, if you are socially healthy you are more likely to be physically healthy too. Running with one other person, a club or a whole community helps us to feel we belong and are valued.
Fears and dislike about ageing are common. It’s easy to see why some people see this phase of life as the beginning of the end, that everything is downhill from now on. Running can help you to feel positive about the future. You can be safe in the knowledge that if you remain active, your future is brighter. Running will show you that there are still adventures to be had, places to visit and memories to be made. Thank goodness for running!
If you’d like some support to keep running through the menopause then join hundreds of other women who get my weekly tips and advice via my running and menopause newsletter – sign up below.