CLEVELAND, Ohio (November 21, 2012)—Moving 6,000 or more steps a day—no matter how—adds up to a healthier life for midlife women. That level of physical activity decreases the risk of diabetes and metabolic syndrome (a diabetes precursor and a risk for cardiovascular disease), showed a study published online this month in Menopause, the journal of the North American Menopause Society.
Although other studies have shown the value of structured exercise in lowering health risks such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease, this study has shown that habitual physical activity—whether it comes from exercising or just activities of daily living—has the power to improve women's health.
In Passo Fundo, Brazil, 292 women who were 45 to 72 years old wore pedometers and recorded their daily steps. They also had health checks such as cholesterol and blood sugar and waist and hip measurement (to gauge abdominal obesity, which is a risk for diabetes and cardiovascular disease). Women who took 6,000 or more steps per day were considered active and those who took fewer inactive.
The active women were much less likely than the inactive ones to be obese and have metabolic syndrome or frank diabetes, whether or not they had gone through menopause–when these risks usually go up–and whether or not they were using hormone therapy.
For midlife women, it looks like the journey to health begins with 6,000 steps!
The study, "Association between habitual physical activity and lower cardiovascular risk in premenopausal, perimenopausal, and postmenopausal women: a population-based study," by Veronica Colpani, PT, Karen Oppermann, MD, PhD, and Poli Mara Spritzer, MD, PhD, was supported by a grant from Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Cientifico e Technólogico and will be published in the May issue of Menopause.
Founded in 1989, The North American Menopause Society (NAMS) is North America's leading nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the health and quality of life of all women during midlife and beyond through an understanding of menopause and healthy aging. Its multidisciplinary membership of 2,000 leaders in the field—including clinical and basic science experts from medicine, nursing, sociology, psychology, nutrition, anthropology, epidemiology, pharmacy, and education—makes NAMS uniquely qualified to serve as the definitive resource for health professionals and the public for accurate, unbiased information about menopause and healthy aging. To learn more about NAMS, visit our website: www.menopause.org