Watch: The fun fitness class helping women through the menopause
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Personal trainer Jay Harris, who runs the Crew42 gym, had a client come to him in tears when struggling with symptoms related to menopause. So, he started a weekly fitness class for women who are suffering from the common physical and mental symptoms of menopause and perimenopause. As well as building up a regular client base, the women now bring their family and friends along to join in the fun.
Jay Harris said: "When she first spoke about it, I didn't know too much about it. I looked into it and started seeing more about it on TV. Obviously, speaking to the ladies and things they have to go through on a one-to-one basis where they're chatting to me. How many people can they speak to about it? A lot of people are quite ashamed, and that's why I started this group to make sure that we can all speak about it. In the WhatsApp group they can confidently speak about it."
Menopause and perimenopause symptoms can have a big impact on your daily life, including relationships, social life, family life and work. Symptoms can last for months or years and can change with time.
During lockdown, Jay was running fitness Bingo classes online to bring some fun into exercise for kids who were missing out on their regular PE lessons. He's now brought this into the gym with him, giving out prizes to those lucky enough to get a full house. His Fitness Bingo was even awarded the prize for best Fitness Event at the British Fitness Awards last September.
Jay said: "The main thing is I let them go their own pace. I'll never shout at them and say I want more reps, I just try and encourage them. That's why they enjoy it because no one is watching them. As long as they're enjoying it, and as long as they are smiling and laughing, I'm more than happy."
As well as the in-person group on Wednesday evenings, the WhatsApp and Facebook groups provide peer-to-peer support to women, making them feel less alone during a time when they need it most.
- Watch the video above for our full feature on the menopause fitness class and to hear more from Jay.