A new study that examined sedentary middle-aged Hispanic women in Latin America found that sedentary lifestyle worsens menopause symptoms in comparison to active women. The study consisted of over 6,000 women, and it also revealed that sedentary lifestyle was highly associated with depression, anxiety, insomnia, and obesity.
The women completed questionnaires about depression, anxiety, insomnia, and menopause symptoms. Symptoms included hot flashes, joint pain, psychological symptoms, bladder problems, and sexual problems. Women were also asked about their activity levels and status of menopause.
Sedentary behavior was classified as fewer than three weekly sessions of physical activity lasting at least 30 minutes. Menopause symptoms were considered severe if women scored over 16 of the Menopause Rating Scale (MRS).
Sixty-four percent of women reported a sedentary lifestyle, and researchers found that 16 percent of sedentary women had severe menopause symptoms compared to 11 percent of active women. Sedentary women also had higher MRS scores and experienced more symptoms compared to the active women. Sedentary women were also more likely to be obese and have higher scores in depression, anxiety and insomnia.
The North American Menopause Society (NAMS) Executive Director, JoAnn V. Pinkerton, said, “Regular physical activity reduces the risk of breast and colon cancer, dementia, heart attacks, stroke, depression; loss of lean muscle mass, and bone loss, and improves immune system function. One study showed that just one hour of walking daily cut the risk of obesity by 24%. Fewer hot flashes, fewer health risks, increased well-being–who doesn’t want these benefits?”
Related: How long does menopause last?