For many women who are going through menopause, there are any number of complaints, including frequent hot flashes and an inability to lose weight, particularly in the stomach area. However, according to a new study it would seem that even with the difficulties some women have losing weight, it is really possible to shed the pounds.
In a release published by the North American Menopause Society (NAMS), it was determined that a steady and regular exercise schedule can in fact help to not only control some of the symptoms, such as hot flashes, but also help with weight loss, even in women who have up to that point lived a more sedentary lifestyle. According to the NAMS executive director, Dr. JoAnn Pinkerton, there has been growing evidence to suggest that living an active lifestyle not only enhances quality of life and health, but also helps with general fitness in women who are postmenopausal.
Women going through menopause often have to deal with estrogen levels that are decreased which can create any number of mental and physical health problems, all of this ultimately can detract from one’s overall quality of life. It is these issues that researchers are hoping to counter with their study into the benefits of a more active lifestyle.
For the study, they looked at 234 postmenopausal women ranging between the ages of 45 to 64. These women all had at least 12 months of a more sedentary lifestyle, they were then given a 20 week exercise program that was supervised. After what was essentially an intervention, the women experienced a number of positive changes in both their mental and physical health, whether long or short-term. There were changes in the women’s flexibility and cardiovascular fitness, as well as “modest but significant reductions in their weight and body mass index.” At the same time while menopause often brings with it hot flashes, the women in the study also saw these more effectively managed because of the exercise.
For women who are reluctant to turn to hormones in order to deal with the symptoms and hot flashes especially, this is certainly welcome news. Instead, these women can turn to exercise and a more active lifestyle, even if they had previously been more sedentary, in order to better deal with the effects of menopause on their bodies. Not only do they not need to turn to pharmacology for their symptoms, but being more active has less of an adverse effect than drugs.
By Dorothea James