Postmenopausal women get amazing benefits from exercise
How exercise benefits postmenopausal women
It’s generally accepted that women tend to gain weight as they go through menopause. However, a new study from the University of Massachusetts Amherst found that exercise has a greater impact on body composition in postmenopausal compared to premenopausal women.
"Regular exercise has so many benefits for women of all ages- from providing more energy and greater mobility to helping to build bone density," says Dr. Wulf Utian, executive director of the North American Menopause Society (NAMS), "This study suggests, though, for postmenopausal women, weight management may be improved with a variety of physical activities."
Light exercise works
The study found that postmenopausal women, on average, have a significantly higher body mass index (BMI), waist circumference and percentage of body fat. But, they also found that postmenopausal women may have more control over their body composition than their
This is because their body composition is more impacted by light physical activity, like walking or gardening, and by sedentary behaviour.
Over 900 women studied
A total of 630 premenopausal and 274 postmenopausal women participated in the study.
ActiGraph accelerometers were used to estimate the amount of time spent in various forms of physical activity and sedentary periods.
Postmenopausal women, on average, exhibited less total movement and more sedentary time than premenopausal women. Also, as expected, higher total movement and physical activity, along with lower sedentary behaviour, were associated with a lower BMI, waist circumference and percentage of body fat - but not to the same extent in both groups.
"Across the board, for each measure of body composition, we found that light physical activity had a greater impact in postmenopausal compared with premenopausal women," says Dr. Lisa Troy, lead author from the University of Massachusetts. "We additionally found that sedentary behaviour was more strongly associated with waist circumference in postmenopausal women. This is an important public health message because, as women go through menopause, physiological changes may decrease a woman's motivation to exercise. What we've found in our study suggests that doing even a little bit of exercise may make a big difference in body composition."