Health & Diet

Menopause: ‘Good news’ for women wanting to make ‘significant reductions’ to their weight

The Natural Beauty Show discuss menopause

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A study that looked into the effects menopause has on weight loss found that regular exercise does wonders for women who are going through the mid-life change. It also found being active can control other bothersome symptoms such as hot flushes.

The 20-week supervised study, which was published in the journal of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS) in 2017, looked at 234 postmenopausal women aged 45 to 64 years who had at least 12 months of sedentary behaviour.

Despite their history of inactivity, after the programme the participants experienced “positive changes” in their short and long-term physical and mental health.

This was especially apparent in their cardiovascular fitness and flexibility, with findings showing “significant improvements”.

Researchers added: “In addition, they achieved modest but significant reductions in their weight and body mass index, and their hot flashes were effectively managed.

“This is especially good news for women who are reluctant to use hormones to manage their menopause symptoms and are looking for safe but effective non-pharmacologic options without adverse effects.”

NAMS executive director, Dr JoAnn Pinkerton, added: “Growing evidence indicates that an active lifestyle with regular exercise enhances health, quality of life, and fitness in postmenopausal women.

“Documented results have shown fewer hot flashes and improved mood and that, overall, women are feeling better while their health risks decrease.”

In a separate study, researchers found that managing problems such as weight gain related to menopause are “most valuable” during the peri-menopause period.

During the study, researchers evaluated women at all stages of the menopause to understand changes in resting and exercise metabolism in conjunction with body composition.

They also looked at their lifestyle habits in relation to composition and metabolism.

From their findings, they concluded that peri-menopause may be the most opportune window for lifestyle intervention because this group experienced elevated percentages of fat, lower lean body mass, and a shift toward central obesity.

With physical activity, it is recommended that menopausal women engage in resistance training to help maintain lean mass which decreases during this life phase.

Moderate to high-intensity exercise is also suggested to maintain or increase oxidative capacity.

While the team’s findings suggest making these changes sooner rather than later will help, NAMS medical director Dr Stephanie Faubion, explained there is still more to be done in terms of research.

“This study underscores the adverse body composition and metabolic changes that occur during the menopause transition, which contribute to the increase in cardiovascular risk associated with menopause,” she said.

“Additional research is needed to determine whether there is an opportunity to prevent menopause-related shifts in body composition and metabolism with sustainable lifestyle interventions.”

There are many lifestyle changes women can do in order to manage their weight as they enter the menopausal phase, including upping their exercise and sticking to a healthy diet.

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