Exercise helps women get their groove back after menopause
Tuesday, March 21, 2017
For those whose mothers may have flirted, courted and even married under the flash of lights bouncing off a mirrored dance ball — or for their sisters, cousins and aunts who came of age to the flash and pulse of disco music — there is a natural remedy for "getting your groove back" as the less-friendly flash of menopause hits you.
Research has demonstrated that exercise helps pull through the hot flashes, weight gain and irritable moods. A recent study showed that even the slower waltz queens and bar stool perchers who rarely got their pulse rates up showed a significant benefit that was lasting. The study looked at 166 women between the ages of 45-64 who been in post-menopause for at least one year.
Even women who had been sedentary postmenopausal showed long-term benefits after adherence to a regular exercise that was managed through a supervised, multicomponent and adapted 20-week program. The women experienced changes in short- and long-term physical and mental health even after the exercise program intervention, and these gains were maintained at the 12-month follow-up.
"Growing evidence indicates that an active lifestyle with regular exercise enhances health, quality of life and fitness in postmenopausal women. Documented results have shown fewer hot flashes and improved mood and that, overall, women are feeling better while their health risks decrease," said JoAnn V. Pinkerton, M.D., executive director of the North American Menopause Society.
More rigorous physical exercise also has benefits in reducing the risk of the cardiovascular disease that is associated with menopause due to the changes in hormonal balances. A different study looked at the impact of high-intensity training on the risk factors in premenopausal and postmenopausal women — this study had the women really moving and "shaking their groove thing."
The study investigated 39 women participating in a three-month, high-intensity aerobic training program. Measures of body composition, blood pressure, lipid profile, glucose tolerance and maximal oxygen consumption were taken at baseline and the conclusion of the intervention.
The researchers found that the risk factors for cardiovascular health concerns were similar for both premenopausal and early postmenopausal women when matched for age and body composition for the majority of factors. The exceptions were high- and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol measures. The intervention reduced the risks similarly in both groups.
So, shaking your groove thing is a healthy intervention at any age.
Yet another group identified key factors regarding menopausal concerns regarding exercise and the general shaking of a groove thing. The benefits are numerous, but the maintenance of muscle mass — and as a result the integrity, mass and strength of bones — are foremost.
An exercise program should include a combination of endurance aerobic exercise, strength exercise and balance exercise. That study did not have any conclusions about exercise and hot flashes.
Clearly a healthy lifestyle that includes exercise is beneficial for women of all ages. This is true even if the flashes of menopause — those reported hot flashes — remain.
Getting into the groove by shaking that groove thing, either at home in the privacy of a living room or out in some vintage discotheque complete with flashing lights and a mirrored ball is a good thing.
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