Intense Exercise in Postmenopausal Women.




Arch Intern Med

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Consumer Data: Menopause
Professional Data: Menopause


Menopause is a very natural part of a woman's life cycle. While it marks the end of a woman's reproductive cycle, it can be the beginning of an exciting and rewarding time of life. Our culture has come a long way from viewing menopause with dread and associating it with a perceived decrease in a woman's value. Understanding the natural progression of age in a woman's body and becoming acquainted with the therapies available, allows women today to effectively manage their symptoms and to be proactive in maintaining their health for their later years.

During menopause, it is important for a woman to recognize the health risks that are associated with a decline in estrogen. It is at this time that there is an increased risk for cardiovascular disease and for osteoporosis. Awareness of these risk factors gives a woman the opportunity to manage her health effectively by choosing lifestyle patterns that promote and maintain health. Menopause is not a time to be dreaded, nor a time to think that an active and full life will be compromised. It is a time to celebrate the natural cycles of a woman's life, and a time develop lifestyle habits that will provide support for the years to come.

A recent study involving 83 healthy postmenopausal women, examined the health benefits of exercise. Of these women, 50 were assigned to an intense workout for 26 months, and the rest served as the control group. Both groups received a vitamin D and calcium supplement. The exercise group participated in two group workout sessions weekly as well as two sessions at home. After the 26 months positive changes were seen in physical fitness, bone mineral density, and cholesterol levels in the exercise group. In addition, those in the exercise group also reported less back pain. The authors of this group concluded that, “General purpose exercise programs with special emphasis on bone density can significantly improve strength and endurance and reduce bone loss, back pain, and lipid levels in osteopenic women in their critical early postmenopausal years.”1

1. Kemmler W, et al. Benefits of 2 Years of Intense Exercise on Bone Density, Physical Fitness, and Blood Lipids in Early Postmenopausal Osteopenic Women. Arch Intern Med. 2004;164:1084-1091.