Womens Health

Take A Walk

Women after menopause who make the effort to walk a few times a week, for 45 minutes at a time, will find it easier to lose weight and will experience a general improvement in their overall sense of wellbeing.

Menopause brings with it changing levels of hormones that tend to bring on weight gain. We already know that aerobic exercise can help to improve a woman's health and quality of life after menopause but we didn't know whether just walking would have the same effect. Researchers decided to find out.

To that end, 35 American women who were overweight, sedentary, and nearing or at menopause were enrolled in a walking program. Almost all of the women managed to complete the program—30 of them—and out of this number, 16 women were perimenopausal while 14 had already passed menopause. Trainers guided the women, who walked on an indoor track for 45 minutes, every other day, over a 16-week period. While all of the women were somewhat obese, all of them were deemed to be in good general health.

Similar Ratings

At the inception of the study, both the perimenopausal and postmenopausal women gave similar ratings when questioned about their perceptions on a variety of issues relating to the health aspects of their quality of life: pain, general health, energy, social and physical functioning, mental and emotional health. By the end of the study, both sets of women experienced physical and mental benefits though these were different for each group.

The perimenopausal women had the greatest weight loss, losing on average almost 2 kilograms of weight compared to the loss of only half a kilogram of weight in the postmenopausal women. The Perimenopausal women also lost the greatest amount of fat mass while the postmenopausal women had the largest reductions in waist measurement and the greatest gains in lean body mass.

The two groups both derived physical and emotional benefits. The postmenopausal women had the largest gains in terms of their scores in body pain, general health, daily physical functioning, and in mental and emotional health, while the perimenopausal women had the greatest gains in energy, in social functioning, and in physical activity.

Improves Wellbeing

These findings suggest that while walking may generate only modest weight loss, this activity can improve mental and physical well-being no matter whether a woman is perimenopausal or postmenopausal. This supports earlier studies that show physical activity will improve a woman's life both before and after she reaches menopause.

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