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Resistance training 3 days per week for 15 weeks increased health-related quality of life in postmenopausal women with moderate-to-severe vasomotor symptoms.

Menopausal symptoms can significantly impact quality of life. The two primary vasomotor symptoms (VMS), hot flushes and night sweats, are experienced by 75% of women around menopause. Effective pharmaceutical treatments are available, but they are not advised for all women. Regular exercise has shown a favorable effect on women’s overall health-related quality of life (HRQoL).

A trial in the journal Climacteric assessed how a resistance training intervention affects postmenopausal women with VMS and HRQoL.

Study Design and Population

In the trial, 65 postmenopausal women with daily VMS were enrolled. Resistance training 3 days a week for 15 weeks was randomly assigned to the participants, while a control group received no treatment. To evaluate HRQoL at baseline and after 15 weeks, the Women’s Health Questionnaire (WHQ) and Short Form Health Survey (SF-36) were utilized.

Improvements in the Women’s Health Questionnaire Scores

At 15 weeks, the vasomotor (p = 0.002), sleep (p = 0.003), and menstrual symptoms (p = 0.01) domains of the WHQ showed greater mean improvements from baseline compared to the control group. In the intervention group, there was a link between changes in VMS frequency and improvements in the WHQ VMS domain. 

Non-Significant Results in the Short Form Health Survey

The overall health domain changed favorably in the intervention group (p = 0.045). There were no changes between the groups in any other areas; however, the intervention group showed a borderline improvement in the vitality domain (p=0.005). But no significant differences in between-group variations were discovered in either of the areas or the SF-36 summary scores.

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The Theory Behind Resistance Training

The proposal suggests that individuals need to engage in exercise at a sufficiently high level to have an impact on VMS. Research supports this theory, indicating that the activity of central opioids, such as dynorphin and β-endorphin, which are believed to be involved in VMS, decreases after menopause. However, exercise and activating large muscle groups have been found to potentially increase their activity.

The fact that the resistance training was carried out in a public gym and that individuals exercised on their own suggests that it may be applied in daily life environments.

Source:

Berin, E., Hammar, M., Lindblom, H., Lindh-Åstrand, L., & Holm, A. S. (2021). Effects of resistance training on quality of life in postmenopausal women with vasomotor symptoms. Climacteric, 25(3), 264–270. https://doi.org/10.1080/13697137.2021.1941849