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Cold Water Swimming Eases Perimenopause and Menopause Symptoms

Survey results show health benefits of cold-water swimming for women.

Older woman flexing biceps in front of ocean to show benefits of swimming for menopause symptoms

Women felt that cold water swimming had a positive overall effect on menstrual, perimenopause and menopause symptoms, according to online survey results from over 1000 female respondents, noted with analysis in Post Reproductive Health (2024; doi: 10.1177/20533691241227100). University College London researchers worked under the leadership of Joyce Harper, PhD, professor of reproductive science and reproductive health, University College London, Institute for Women’s Health, United Kingdom. They surveyed female cold-water swimmers to learn more about their experiences and analyze the relationship between these swims and menstruation, perimenopause and menopause symptoms.

Findings show that menopausal women significantly improved anxiety, mood swings, low mood and hot flushes, and that a majority (63.3%) swam specifically to relieve symptoms.

“The majority of women swim to relieve symptoms…They felt that their symptoms were helped by the physical and mental effects of the cold water, which was more pronounced when it was colder,” says Harper. “Those that swam for longer had more pronounced effects…it gets people exercising in nature, and often with friends, which can build a great community.”

“More research still needs to be done into the frequency, duration, temperature and exposure needed to elicit a reduction in symptoms. However, we hope our findings may provide an alternative solution for women struggling with menopause and encourage more women to take part in sports.”

See also: The Best Exercises for Menopause and Postmenopause

Shirley Eichenberger-Archer, JD, MA

Shirley Archer, JD, MA, is an internationally acknowledged integrative health and mindfulness specialist, best-selling author of 16 fitness and wellness books translated into multiple languages and sold worldwide, award-winning health journalist, contributing editor to Fitness Journal, media spokesperson, and IDEA's 2008 Fitness Instructor of the Year. She's a 25-year industry veteran and former health and fitness educator at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, who has served on multiple industry committees and co-authored trade books and manuals for ACE, ACSM and YMCA of the USA. She has appeared on TV worldwide and was a featured trainer on America's Next Top Model.

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