Physical activity, an ally you can count on
Menopause and new health risks
The benefits of regular physical activity for the health and quality of life of postmenopausal women have been demonstrated by numerous studies.
At menopause, the associated changes, especially hormonal changes, create new health risks in women, in particular risks of cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis.
Impact of cardiovascular diseases and osteoporosis
Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death in the world according to the WHO1 (second cause in France, but the first for women). And the risks of cardiovascular disease increase in postmenopausal women2, with the doubling of the frequency of coronary heart attacks.
As for osteoporosis, characterized by a decrease in bone density and a deterioration in bone quality resulting in fragility with the risk of compression and fractures, it is mainly related to age and affects women 2 to 3 times more often than men3. The main cause of this disparity is the rapid decrease at menopause in estrogen. Postmenopausal women have lower estrogen levels than most men over 504. And estrogens control bone remodeling.
Benefits of exercising
Regular physical activity helps to:
- reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease (in particular by reducing blood pressure, cholesterol and intra-abdominal fat mass linked to menopause), through endurance activities
- decrease the risk of osteoporosis by stimulating bone mass through muscle building activities.
Another health benefit of regular physical activity, specific to postmenopausal women, is a probable preventive role in breast cancer5.
Not to mention “extras” such as:
reduction of mood disorders,
and, to some extent, reduction in hot flashes and night sweats6.
How to practice
So what type of physical activity and how often are we talking about?
As mentioned above, you need to combine endurance activities (such as brisk walking) and muscle building (such as strength training, bodyweight or with dumbbells).
The recommendations are 3 to 5 sessions of 30 minutes, per week, of moderate intensity activity, including 2 sessions of muscle building5.
In this form, physical activity becomes a major ally for a successful menopause journey.
Are you interested in the experiences of women at different stages of their menopause? Would you like a reminder of the physiology of menopause and the main symptoms? Download our free ebook, Menopause Story(ies).
1: source WHO – Health Topics – Cardiovascular disease
2: source Société Française de Cardiologie
3: source INSERM
4: source msdmanuals.com
5: source INSERM « Activité physique: contextes et effets sur la santé – Synthèse et recommandations. » [Rapport de recherche]
6: source « Influence de l’activité physique sur les symptômes climatériques ». T. Adam. In: Gynécologie du sport. Springer, Paris.