The benefits of a healthy lifestyle don’t just stop when you get older. Being active has been shown to improve post-menopausal life for women, be it high-intensity training or basic aerobic exercise.
The benefit of living in a time when medicine has never been better is that we all live far longer. While this is a positive side-effect of modern medicine, it also creates problems. Menopause was never a long-term issue for women throughout history, yet today women can live decades of their lives post-menopause. The problem is menopause can cause negative changes in the body, such as fat gain and an increase in inflammatory signals, eventually developing into cardiovascular disease.
Physical exercise is one of the best ways to combat cardiovascular disease. In post-menopausal women, several studies have shown that exercise can prevent weight gain and reduce inflammatory-related signaling. One thing it may also affect is adipokines, a type of signaling molecule released from fat tissue. These can play regulatory roles in the body, and after menopause, the change in their levels may disrupt this regulation.
In a new study, a team from Linkoping University in Sweden wanted to test if resistance training could positively affect adipokine levels in post-menopausal women. Several other studies have shown that physical exercise could promote healthy lipid levels and inflammatory signaling, but not much has been done on adipokines changes. After fifteen weeks of training, the team would check inflammation, cardiovascular disease, and adipokine markers in a group of post-menopausal for any change.
Fifty-nine women were gathered and split into two groups. One group would follow a sedentary lifestyle for the length of the study, while the other would undergo a basic resistance training routine three days a week for fifteen weeks. The women who underwent training had a decrease in pro-inflammatory adipokines and an increase in testosterone and sex hormone-binding globulin (low levels are an indicator of type 2 diabetes). These findings were on top of the naturally positive benefits of physical exercises, such as fat loss and higher energy levels.
This study showed that resistance training could help post-menopausal women prevent developing cardiovascular disease. The reduction of pro-inflammatory adipokines could prevent inflammation-related cardiovascular issues, which can develop into full-blown diseases. The sex hormone observations went against previous research (sex hormones are supposed to decrease due to the loss of fat that comes with exercising); however, the team chalks it up to possible differences in training styles.
The study concludes, “our results may indicate the potential benefit to RT training in post-menopausal women for reducing the risk of adipokine-induced inflammation, although further studies are required with attention on circulating adiponectin isoforms.”