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Women's healthJun 27, 2023

Physio Anna Lowe welcomes funding boost for app that will help women to stay strong and healthy

Sheffield Hallam’s Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre has joined up with Sheffield-based Westfield Health to create an accessible app that will help to meet the exercise needs of women in midlife. One woman in two does not do any strength exercises once they reach the age of 45 and above – despite the fact that strength declines with age but can be maintained through exercise.

Strength training is a low-cost exercise intervention that has a ‘powerful impact on women’s health’. It maintains function and independence as women age, and improves mood and sleep, maintains muscle and bone strength and helps maintain a healthy weight.

The project received £125,000 from UK Research and Innovation. The new app will integrate behaviour change and exercise science to help women approaching the ‘start line’ of their later years to stay healthy and develop more physical reserves, an article appearing on Sheffield Hallam's website reported earlier this month.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock
The app should help women approaching the ‘start line’ of their later years (stock image)


Physiotherapist Anna Lowe, project lead at Sheffield Hallam University, said: ‘Working women in midlife face a unique set of challenges including stress, burnout and musculoskeletal problems, all of which can be compounded by perimenopause.

‘Work becomes challenging for many women in midlife and evidence suggest that many women consider leaving work at this time because of health-related issues. Exercise is a powerful way to manage symptoms and improve wellbeing, but it is often overlooked and under-used.'

Dr Lowe added: ‘Our overall aim is to help women to be happy, healthy and productive in the workplace for as long as they want to be.’

Kate Platts, Westfield Health’s head of research and innovation, said: ‘Targeted solutions for women in the workplace, especially those in midlife, are not always readily available to those who need and want them. An app that provides simple, yet powerful instructions related to strength-training for women is much-needed.

'Through this work we hope to support our female colleagues, customers, and communities in achieving a high-quality mid- and later life, enabling people to work healthily and happily for as long as they choose.’

Our overall aim is to help women to be happy, healthy and productive in the workplace for as long as they want to be [Anna Lowe]

Fear of falling

Falls in later life are relatively common and can lead to pain, injury and loss of independence. They also have a significant impact on health services, both with short-term admissions to hospital and long-term aftercare.

The 60-plus age group is growing, and it is anticipated that problems related to falls will increase. Research shows that women harbour more fears of falling than men, and sustain more hip fractures from falls, but current approaches focus on older people who have already fallen or are deemed to be ‘at risk’. 

The funds were awarded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) as part of the Healthy Ageing Challenge. UKRI creates ‘knowledge with impact’ by investing more than £8 billion a year in research and innovation through the UK’s nine mainfunding councils. 

For more information about the Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre,  click 

To find out more about Anna Lowe, click 

Author: Ian A McMillan
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