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Exercise and Menopause

Menopause and how it effects exercise is a common topic.  The following is from an article that may help answer some of those questions:

If you're in the middle of menopause, you may be experiencing challenges such as weight gain, hot flashes or fatigue. Ugh! The good news is that exercise can make a positive difference.

Although there is much more to learn about exercise research and menopause, what we do know supports physical activity as a means to help manage menopausal consequences and protect against heart disease and osteoporosis, says Jan Schroeder, PhD, an associate professor of kinesiology at California State University, Long Beach. Below, Schroeder explains what research says and offers tips for designing a fitness program for this time of life.

Cardiorespiratory Research
Most cardiorespiratory research involving menopausal and postmenopausal women has focused on how aerobic activity affects body composition and abdominal fat distribution. Many studies have used walking as the primary mode of aerobic activity. In one such study, postmenopausal women (55-66 years) wore pedometers for 14 days to determine whether body composition variables differed across activity levels. Research determined that women who accumulated more steps per day (> 7,500) had more favorable body composition including lower body fat percentage, trunk fat, body mass index (BMI), waist and hip circumferences and waist-hip ratio-than women who took fewer steps (Krumm et al. 2006).

Resistance Training Research
Numerous researchers have reported on the effects of resistance training for menopausal women. Positive outcomes have included improvements in strength, body composition and bone density. For example, strength improvements of approximately 30% in the lower body and 25% in the upper body occurred in postmenopausal women following a 6-month resistance training protocol consisting of 8 repetitions of 12 exercises at 80% of one-repetition maximum (Bemben et al. 2000).

Flexibility Training Research
Flexibility research targeting menopausal women is severely lacking. Much more research is needed in this area to determine the appropriate exercise design for menopausal women. For now, follow the American College of Sports Medicine's (ACSM) flexibility guidelines for clients (ACSM 2006). See "Practical Advice" for specifics.

Cardiorespiratory Fitness.
The goal of a cardiorespiratory fitness program is to improve your aerobic conditioning and body composition. Choose a weight-bearing activity, such as walking, to help protect bone density.

Resistance Training.
Improvement in bone mineral density (BMD) is site-specific. Only those bones attached to the exercising muscles are affected, owing to specificity of stimulation. Therefore, choose exercises to strengthen the small and large muscle groups of the spine and hip, the most common sites of osteoporotic fractures. In addition, pick exercises that help with posture and realign the spine and pelvic girdle (e.g., upper-back and leg/hip exercises).

Flexibility Training.
Until there is a clearer understanding of the most appropriate flexibility design, follow ACSM's flexibility guidelines. The organization recommends performing a static stretching routine that exercises all major muscle groups at least 2-3 (preferably 5-7) days per week, holding each stretch for 15-30 seconds to mild discomfort, with 2-4 repetitions per stretch (ACSM 2006).


7 Comments to Exercise and Menopause:

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Jamila Robinson on Monday, July 18, 2011 3:38 AM
I find this blog very interesting and informative. I'm sure many women out there are interested in exercising. I've been thinking about going back to gym since I gained more than 20 pounds. I used to buy magazine to know more about weight control and exercise. This is a very helpful post. Great job!
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Jamila Robinson on Monday, July 18, 2011 3:39 AM
I find this blog very interesting and informative. I'm sure many women out there are interested in exercising. I've been thinking about going back to gym since I gained more than 20 pounds. I used to buy magazine to know more about weight control and exercise. This is a very helpful post. Great job!
Reply to comment


Anonymous on Wednesday, May 23, 2012 12:45 PM
Good posting! I like it.
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Anonymous on Wednesday, May 23, 2012 12:49 PM
I regularly do exercise sut still not loosing my weight. Please help me.
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Anonymous on Wednesday, May 23, 2012 12:50 PM
Still a great blog my friend.
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Aryan Marlon on Saturday, December 08, 2012 10:53 AM
I am suffering from menopause, so your blog about Exercise and Menopause is very effective to me. I have come to get a good solve for menopause which will be handy for me. Thanks a lot dude. Carry on.
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Anonymous on Saturday, December 08, 2012 10:53 AM
Nice post.Thank you for taking the time to publish this information very useful! I've been looking for books of this nature for a way too long. I'm just glad that I found yours.
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