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The best sports clothes for menopause – and other tips

Written by Fiona

January 23 2023

The peri-menopause and menopause affects every woman to a varying degree. If you are sporty, there are a few issues that can cause problems, such as becoming overly hot or cold, hot sweats, fluctuating weight, heavy periods, incontinence, changes to the skin and muscles, muscle cramps and a general loss of self-confidence and self-esteem.

Note that while there are lots of issues for women at this time their life, it’s not all bad and there are some positives. I have written some tips for fitness in the menopause.

Sports clothes for the menopause – and other tips

Flanci skort.
Flanci skapri.

A sports skort

A skort is a combination of undershorts and skirt. I wear Flanci because they are well made and have beautiful designs but there are plenty of other brands that sell skorts. I wear a skort for running, hiking, circuit training and as “day” wear.

There is also a Flanci skapri if you prefer a longer length of tights.

The skort has a number of benefits for women. First, it is seen as flattering by many women. Many women, regardless of stage of life, can feel self conscious in sports clothing, especially the tight Lycra kind.

A skort offers the comfort and support of tight fitting undershorts, but with the flattering cover up of an A-line skirt.

A skort is also a great way to cope with issues such as heavy periods and incontinence if you are prone to leakages and accidents. I used to worry about small pee leaks and blood from heavy periods but it is less of a concern when I had a skirt to cover up any small accidents.

The wide, cover-up wasitband of the Flanci skorts is also a bonus if you are conscious about your stomach, or if you get bloated due to menstrual issues or digestive issues.

Flanci skorts also have bold and brilliant designs and on days when I am feeling a bit glum or lacking in motivation, wearing a skort gives me a mental boost and a bit of cheer.

Period pants

Talking of leakage issues, a great product is period pants. They work well for periods and for incontinence and there are sports varieties so you don’t need to use traditional santitary towels, for example.

  • By the way, I have found that regular HRT helps with incontinence and I have a Merina coil that has put an end to periods.
I wear thin layers of clothing – and merino where possible.

Thin layers – and more of them

Menopause can cause your body’s thermostat to go into meltdown. I find I get very hot and then very cold and I can rarely regulate my temperature. Instead, I’ve learned to wear several thinner layers of clothing, from a t-shirt baselayer and long-sleeved baselayer to a waterproof or windproof outer jacket. It’s the same with headwear and gloves. I’d rather wear two thinner layers than one thicker layer.

In this way, I can stop and take off a layer or add a layer when I need to. This flexibility has really helped me when preparing to go out for a run, hike or cycle.

Natural not synthetic fabrics

I sweat a lot more during menopause. I find that natural fabrics, such as merino, or merino mix clothes, help with the issue of excess sweat and then feeling wet and damp. Natural fabrics are better at allowing sweat to wick through and will not end up as wet or damp when you are exercising.

The sweat on my clothes also leads to an unpleasant odour. Strangely, this usually happens under one arm and not the other! Needless to say, it’s something I’d rather avoid and natural fabrics are much better at staying whiff-free compared to synthetics.

If it has to be synthetic…

My skin is insensitive to fabrics and even more so in menopause. I can tolerate merino wool if it’s soft and I wear it over a synthetic t-shirt or vest. Another fabric that works well for keeping to keep me cool is Coolmax, which is a polyester fabric that consists of fibres that wick moisture and allow the passage of heat.

Different sizes of sports bra

I am not sure if this happens to you, but I can go up or down a bra cup size from week to week. It must have something to do with fluctuating hormones in menopause. I have different sports bras to suit my different size on the day.

Clothes with zips and openers

Sometimes, all I need is a short burst of cool air to regulate my body temperature. I look for tops and jackets with zips and vents, whether at the front, under the arms or at the back.

For example, the Montane Spine Running Jacket has a press-stud button at the front of the jacket below the zip. You can use this to keep the jacket on (a bit like a sleeved cape) but with the zip undone.

A rarely go out without a buff for headwear.

A buff/hat

I can end up with a very sweaty head and hair, so a buff or a cap with a sweatband are useful for preventing the sweat dripping into my eyes.

Anti-chafing balms and creams

This is not clothing, but it can be useful if you sweat or if you have a bit of bloating or water retention. The balms and creams will help to keep chafing away.

A rucksack or vest pack

I always carry a hiking rucksack or a running vest pack so that I have a place to store excess layers, as well as my phone, snacks and water.

Get changed quickly

After any kind of exercise, I always try to change my clothes, especially my tops and bra, as quickly as possible. If I leave them on, I end up damp and cold. Even merino wool can make you feel damp straight after exercise. A full change means you can more easily manage your temperature and not end up shivering with cold.

Do you have any tips for sports clothes during peri-menopause and menopause?

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