A small number of randomised controlled trials and some cross-sectional studies showed that increased levels of physical activity led to reduced levels of joint pain. The form of physical activity in the randomised controlled trials varied between daily stretching, gym-based exercises and aerobic exercise but all showed significant improvement in symptoms (1,2,3). This was in both menopausal and peri-menopausal women.
In the cross-sectional studies those undertaking at least the recommended amount of physical activity as per their countries national guidelines reported much less joint pain symptoms than those who didn’t(4, 5, 6, 7, 8).
Quality of Evidence
Quality of Evidence: Grade B – there is some evidence from RCTs that joint pain is reduced with increased levels of physical activity, particularly if the national guidelines are met.
Strength of Recommendation
Strength of Recommendation: Grade 2 – limited number of good-quality RCTs.
Studies have shown that increased physical activity levels can lead to reduced joint pain in peri and post-menopausal women. Daily stretching and moderate aerobic exercise have shown encouraging signs of improvement in symptoms in RCTs, but further trials are needed to determine the optimal dose, frequency and type of exercise to control symptoms most effectively.
- Kai, Y., Nagamatsu, T., Kitabatake, Y. and Sensui, H. (2016) ‘Effects of stretching on menopausal and depressive symptoms in middle-aged women: a randomized controlled trial’, 1(8), pp. 827-32.
- Courneya, K. S., McNeil, J., O’Reilly, R., Morielli, A. R. and Friedenreich, C. M. ‘Dose-Response Effects of Aerobic Exercise on Quality of Life in Postmenopausal Women: results from the Breast Cancer and Exercise Trial in Alberta (BETA)’.
- Javadivala, Z., Allahverdipour, H., Jafarabadi, M. A. and Emami, A. (2020) ‘An Interventional strategy of physical activity promotion for reduction of menopause symptoms’, Health Promotion Perspectives, 10(4), pp. 383-392.
- Kim, M. J., Cho, J., Ahn, Y., Yim, G. and Park, H. Y. (2014) ‘Association between physical activity and menopausal symptoms in perimenopausal women’, Bmc Womens Health, 14
- Lum, K. J. and Simpson, E. E. A. (2021) ‘The impact of physical activity on psychological well-being in women aged 45-55 years during the Covid pandemic: A mixed-methods investigation’, Maturitas, 153, pp. 19-25.
- Tan, M. N., Kartal, M. and Guldal, D. ‘The effect of physical activity and body mass index on menopausal symptoms in Turkish women: a cross-sectional study in primary care’.
- Mansikkamäki, K., Raitanen, J., Malila, N., Sarkeala, T., Männistö, S., Fredman, J., Heinävaara, S. and Luoto, R., 2014. Physical activity and menopause-related quality of life – A population-based cross-sectional study.
- Dabrowska-Galas, M., Dabrowska, J., Ptaszkowski, K. and Plinta, R. (2019) ‘High Physical Activity Level May Reduce Menopausal Symptoms’, Medicina-Lithuania, 55(8).