Want to change the quality of your life? Bust a move

Posted by on Jan 27, 2012 in aging, exercise, menopause, weight | 4 comments

The next time you place blame on hormones as the reason for things not going so well in your life, you may want to step back and move. I’m not talking about locale, but rather, moving your body. And researchers are saying that physical activity may actually be one of the most important things you can do to maintain or improve the quality of your life when hormones are wreaking havoc on your body, your mood and your outlook.

Granted, part of the reason for the improved life quality may have to do with amelioration of symptoms as a result of exercise. Indeed, you may recall a post from last month discussing the value of setting aside a precious hour for yourself for some sort of brisk activity. This new study adds fodder to the discussion, and suggests that even moderate increases in physical activity can improve overall life quality.

Importantly, this study, which involved over 1,100 women who were followed via questionnaire over 8 years, showed that a change in menopausal status acted as prompter to increase physical activity, and these women tended to experience greater improvements in their life quality than their peers who didn’t exercise or whose physical activity decreased over the time period. What’s more, as a side note, women in the study who never used hormone replacement therapy reported having a better quality of life than women who did use it, and even had 1.26 greater odds for improved life quality.

While the reasons for this are unclear, the researchers say that exercise may increase the production of endorphins, which in turn, work on symptoms, stabilize the body’s temperature regulation system and smooth out the flashes, sweats and other symptoms. However, most important is the point that the implications are far greater than feeling good: menopause may actually be a ‘window of opportunity’ to start improving your life by making healthier lifestyle choices.

But what do they mean by “exercise?” In this particular research, participants were asked to characterize their activity levels by:

  1. The time spent on heavy physical activity on the days they exercise at least 10 minutes
  2. The time spent on moderate physical activity on days they exercise for at least 10 minutes
  3. Time spent on brisk walking on days they walk for at least 10 minutes

This information was then translated into metabolic equivalent (MET) hours per week, which measures basal metabolism and the amount of oxygen the body uses during exercise. You can find more information on MET as it relates to specific activities here.

The sum of all parts equals one thing: move. It’s important for symptoms, it’s critical for weight and it’s essential for health. And it appears to be the gold ring when it comes to life quality.

What are you waiting for?

 

4 Comments

  1. 2-3-2012

    I can personally attest to this. Menopausal, overweight, tired, sad and depressed. I began walking every day, instead of sitting and blaming everything on hormones. results: 6 months, 30 lbs and 2 half marathons later – life just feels soooooo much better. MOVE!

    • 2-3-2012

      Wow Ann! That’s just great. How inspiring and how wonderful for you. You go girl!

  2. 2-4-2012

    Thanks Liz and Ann for your insights. I totally agree. My spirit, mind, and body feel better with movement. I upped my movement last May and enlisted the support of a trainer. I also joined a smaller gym that feels like a spa each time i visit. I am back on track with my 5k running too.

    • 2-4-2012

      That’s terrific Ananda. All it takes if the first step, right?!

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