Previous research has shown that metabolic function is critical for women to prevent heart disease and type II diabetes in menopausal women.
In a new study led by the University of Missouri, researchers find that minimal exercise may help menopausal women regulate insulin better and avoid too much weight gain. The finding is published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise.
The goal of the study was to determine what role exercise plays in protecting women, specifically less-active women, metabolically as they go through menopause.
Researchers compared how exercise training maintained metabolic function in sedentary rats versus highly active rats.
The rats were provided a running wheel, which they could use as much or as little as they wanted.
The sedentary rats only ran 1/5th of the distance as the highly active rats did, but the limited physical activity still maintained their metabolic function and normalized insulin levels.
Furthermore, the previously sedentary rats had a 50% reduction in their fat tissue as a result of small amount of exercise.
Researchers suggest that any physical activity, even just a small amount, can maintain metabolic function.
Sedentary menopausal women can take regular walks with friends, take the stairs rather than the elevator, join beginners’ fitness programs, and monitor physical activity through use of fitness trackers.
Citation: Park YM, et al. (2016). Voluntary Running Attenuates Metabolic Dysfunction in Ovariectomized Low-Fit Rats. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, published online, DOI: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000001101.
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