Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA) partnered with Jean Hailes for Women's Health to raise awareness of the impact of COVID-19 on women’s health and fitness.
The 2022 Jean Hailes National Women’s Health Survey, released during Women’s Health Week this month, showed the toll that COVID-19 took on Australian women.
Nearly one in five women reported loss of fitness, weight gain, and muscle and joint pain as a result of the pandemic.
Conducted in March-May, the 2022 Jean Hailes National Women’s Health Survey attracted more than 14,000 respondents and revealed that 30% of women said they were less fit, 28% said they had gained weight, and 20% said they had muscle and joint pain.
Anita Hobson-Powell, CEO of ESSA, said women often struggle to put their own health first. The demands on their time during COVID-19 meant it was hard for them to fit movement into their daily lives.
“Regardless of their health status and stage of life, every woman can gain significant benefits from being active,” she said.
“My message to all Australian women is that to take care of others, you first need to care for yourself.
“It isn’t selfish to prioritise your health and take time to get the right advice when it comes to exercise.”
Ms Hobson-Powell said while women with muscle or joint pain often avoid exercise for fear of exacerbating it, the fact is that appropriately prescribed exercise interventions can help to manage and, in some cases, even treat persisting joint and muscle pain.
To search for an accredited exercise professional in your local area, make use of ESSA’s search function at: Find an AEP
CEO of Jean Hailes for Women’s Health, Janet Michelmore AO said it was important for women to acknowledge the challenges of the past two-and-a-bit years and to give themselves permission to look now to their own needs.
“We know that we as women are resilient and in the coming months, we will slowly but surely work our way back to better health and fitness,” she says.
“Like all journeys, this one will begin with a step.”
Jean Hailes for Women’s Health is a national not-for-profit organisation dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing of women across the country.
This is its seventh annual health survey and the first time it has been translated into Chinese (simplified), Arabic and Vietnamese.
The 2022 Jean Hailes National Women’s Health Survey can be found at: 2022 Jean Hailes Survey.