Exercise May Boost Quality of Life Post-Menopause
If you’re looking for ways to improve your quality of life post-menopause, look no further! Simply adding some physical activity to your lifestyle can lead to significant improvements in health and wellbeing, a new study finds. The study, conducted in Spain, surveyed 166 post-menopausal women and found that in joining an exercise program, quality of life was improved for previously sedentary study participants both immediately and for the long term as well.
Study participants consisted of three groups: an intervention, an active control, and a sedentary control group. The participants in the intervention group, aged 45-64, had been in menopause for at least one year. Improvements were seen in the overall quality of life as compared to the sedentary control group after just a 20 week program of three one hour a week sessions of exercise in combination with psychological intervention to improve self-monitoring and regulation skills.
The first improvement was seen in vasomotor symptoms (hormonal symptoms associated with menopause such as hot flashes, night sweats and flushing). The improved effects due to exercise could be a safe alternative to medical intervention such as hormone replacement therapy. The next effect was enhanced health-related quality of life (HRQoL) measures. Women reported improvements in mental health, sexuality and intimate relationships. These improvements were maintained in participants for a year following the study. Cardiovascular effects, measured via systolic blood pressure readings, were improved following the program. The effects, however, were less long lasting and returned to baseline at the one year follow up. Similarly, improvements in BMI, weight and waist circumference were less long lasting.
Nevertheless, where previous studies have been inconclusive, this data supports the positive effect of exercise on menopausal symptoms. Consistency is key to maintaining some of the beneficial health effects- so go out and go for a jog!
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