Exercise in teens benefits women during menopause

Girls, it’s about time to get up and hit the treadmill, since the more sweat you now, the less health problems you will experience during one of the most dreaded phases in a woman’s life-Menopause!

A new study has found that women who exercised regularly in their teenage years, reduced their risk of height loss at an older age by more than 70 per cent.

According to SUNY Distinguished Professor Jean Wactawski-Wende, PhD, the study’s senior author and dean of the University at Buffalo School of Public Health and Health Professions, “Having done strenuous exercise regularly, at least three times a week, in their teens was protective for later life height loss (in women).

“Although this study was done on postmenopausal women, there is a key message for younger women- strenuous exercise in teenage years has lasting effects on your bones later in life,” said Dr Wactawski-Wende.

That’s likely because physical activity helps to build bone. Strenuous workouts or any activity long enough to work up a sweat and increase heart rate, would likely also result in helping increase peak bone mass in the study participants when they were young women, she noted.

“Exercise also increases strength and balance, both of which might help to prevent spine fracture and other fractures later in life,” she added.

The study, published this month in the journal Menopause, examined 1,024 women enrolled in the Buffalo Osteoporosis and Periodontal Disease Study.

OsteoPerio is an ancillary study of Women’s Health Initiative, a prospective study investigating major causes of death and disease in postmenopausal women, Dr Wactawski-Wende disclosed.

Researchers measured participants’ height at baseline and again five years later. The participants’ average age was 66.

Dr Wactawski-Wende and her colleagues focused specifically on postmenopausal women who lost one inch or more at the five-year follow up based on the findings from two previous studies that connected mortality to height loss.

The average height loss among more than 1,000 women studied was fourth-tenths of an inch during an average five-year follow up. The 70 women who experienced height loss of more than an inch were older in age, weighed more at baseline and had higher intake of corticosteroids.

“The factors identified in this study are easy to obtain and could be used by clinicians to identify women at most risk of height loss. “In women who have these risk factors, clinicians might consider other measures known to prevent height loss,” Dr Wactawski-Wende told the Science Daily.

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