Influence of habitual physical activity on the symptoms of climacterium/menopause and the quality of life of middle-aged women
Adriana Coutinho de Azevedo Guimarães1, Fátima Baptista2
1Physical Education Department, Health and Sport Sciences Center, State University of Santa Catarina, Santa Catarina, Brazil; 2Exercise and Health Laboratory, Faculty of Human Movement, Technical University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal
Aim: To analyze the influence of the duration of habitual physical activity (PA) on the symptoms of climacterium/menopause and on several domains of the health-related quality of life (QOL) in middle-aged women.
Methods: One hundred and four 45- to 59-year-old women were placed into three groups: group A, subjects who maintained PA less than 30 minutes/day; group B, subjects who maintained or began to perform PA 30–60 minutes/day; and group C, subjects who maintained or increased PA to more than 60 minutes/day. Symptoms of menopause, QOL (physical, psychological, and social), and PA were assessed through the Kupperman Menopausal Index, World Health Organization Quality of Life Brief Version questionnaire, and International Physical Activity Questionnaire, respectively.
Results: The analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) results, adjusted for age, initial body mass index, schooling years, hormonal replacement therapy, and the number of diseases, indicated that the women who maintained or increased their total habitual PA to more than 60 minutes/day had reduced symptoms of climacterium/menopause (-5.4 ± 0.5; P = 0.001) and improved QOL in the psychological (4.4% ± 0.8%; P = 0.001) and social domains (2.0% ± 0.9%; P = 0.035). ANCOVA revealed a further improvement of approximately 5% in the psychological domain of QOL in group C, who also experienced decreased menopause symptoms (P = 0.001) and lost weight (P = 0.009).
Conclusion: The habitual practice of at least moderate-intensity PA for 60 minutes/day has a favorable effect on climacterium/menopause symptoms and on QOL, particularly on its psychological and social domains. The influence of habitual PA at the psychological level seems to be at least partially associated with a decrease in menopause symptoms and/or weight loss.
Keywords: physical activity, quality of life, menopause
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