Exercise Eases Menopause Symptoms
Study Shows Regular Exercise Improves Mental and Physical Health of Menopausal Women
March 24, 2006 -- It's never too late for women to reap the benefits from
starting a regular exercise program, according to a new study that shows
exercise can relieve the symptoms of menopause and improve quality of life.
Researchers found menopausal women aged 55-72 who started a yearlong
exercise program experienced significant improvement in both mental and
physical health while those who didn't exercise got worse.
"The group that improved took part in three hours of fully supervised
exercise a week for 12 months," says researcher Carmen
Villaverde-Gutierrez, professor of nursing at the University of Granada in
Spain, in a news release. "As well as monitoring severe symptoms, we also
looked at the women's quality of life and found that the average scores for the
exercise group improved while those for the control group decreased."
The results appear in the Journal of Advanced Nursing.
Exercise Relieves Symptoms
In the study, researchers examined the effects of an exercise program
consisting of cardiovascular, stretching, muscle strengthening, and relaxation
exercises in 48 menopausal women. Half of the women participated in the
12-month exercise program and the other half did not.
At the start of the study, 50% of the women in the exercise group and about
58% of nonexercisers had severe menopausal symptoms. By the end of the study,
the percentage of women with severe menopausal symptoms dropped to 37% among
the exercise group and rose to over 66% among the others.
The exercise group also improved on measures of physical and psychological
functioning and positive state of mind, while the nonexercisers declined in
"Joining the regular exercise programme improved the women's health and
also gave them the chance to join a sociable group activity and reduce feelings
of loneliness," says Villaverde-Gutierrez in a news release. "Our
findings suggest that regular exercise programmes can help to alleviate some of
the physical symptoms associated with the menopause and improve women's health
and quality of life."
"We would like to see exercise programmes offered as an integral part of
primary healthcare for menopausal women. At the very least, women going through
the menopause should be encouraged to join a local exercise group suitable for
their age and health so that they can share the benefits experienced by the
women in our study," says Villaverde-Gutierrez.