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Women in Menopause Benefit From Physical Activity

Higher life satisfaction, less depression and more positivity are linked with more exercise.

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Physical activity and postmenopausal women

Here’s some great news for your postmenopausal clients. According to a study reported in Menopause (2020; 27 [4], 398–409), postmenopausal women who are more physically active experience fewer depressive symptoms and more positive feelings of well-being than those who are less active. As women go from pre- to early peri- to postmenopause, many experience varying degrees of depressive symptoms. University of Jyväskylä researchers in Finland wanted to examine whether physical activity played any role in the link between menopausal status and mental well-being.

Data analysis from 1,098 participants showed that depressive symptoms were significantly lower among premenopausal women than among early peri- and postmenopausal women. Women with high physical activity (brisk activity several times per week) had significantly higher levels of positive well-being and happiness, regardless of menopausal status. Medium physical activity levels (daily light activity or brisk activity 1–2 times per week) were linked with higher life satisfaction for pre- and postmenopausal women and with fewer depressive symptoms among postmenopausal women.

Study authors noted that being active may alleviate the potential negative impact of menopause on mental well-being. More research is needed to understand any causal links between menopausal symptoms, activity and mental well-being.


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Shirley Archer-Eichenberger, JD, MA

Shirley Archer, JD, MA, is an internationally acknowledged integrative health and mindfulness specialist, best-selling author of 16 fitness and wellness books translated into multiple languages and sold worldwide, award-winning health journalist, contributing editor to Fitness Journal, media spokesperson, and IDEA's 2008 Fitness Instructor of the Year. She's a 25-year industry veteran and former health and fitness educator at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, who has served on multiple industry committees and co-authored trade books and manuals for ACE, ACSM and YMCA of the USA. She has appeared on TV worldwide and was a featured trainer on America's Next Top Model.

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