Dmitriy Bondarev and associates in a new study have found that Menopause is associated with a decline in muscle strength and power. Although muscle power is a crucial factor of functional independence in old age, the association between menopause status and functional independence including mobility and walking is not clear.
The aim of the study was to examine differences in physical performance (muscle power, muscle strength, aerobic capacity, and walking speed) across menopausal stages and potential of leisure physical activity (PA) to modify the impact of menopause on physical performance.
Menopause usually occurs on average at 51 years of age and is linked to gradual dysregulation of the reproductive endocrine system.It can be divided roughly into three different stages-pre-menopause, 5-10 years before menopause when the menstrual cycle gradually becomes irregular, Perimenopause when the function of the ovaries noticeably fades away leading to the cessation of menstruation and Postmenopause is the time after the last menstruation.
In the cross-sectional study, women aged 47 to 55 were randomly selected from the Finnish National Registry and categorized as premenopausal, perimenopausal, or postmenopausal on the basis of their serum concentrations of follicle-stimulating hormone and bleeding diary. Their physical performance was measured by knee extension force, handgrip force, vertical jumping height, maximal walking speed, and 6-minute walking distance. PA level was assessed by self-report and categorized as low, moderate, or high. Multivariate linear regression modelling was used for data analysis.
After including fat mass, height, PA, and education in the model, the postmenopausal women showed 12.0 N weaker handgrip force and 1.1 cm lower vertical jumping height than the premenopausal women.
In our everyday activities, such as standing from a chair, climbing stairs or walking, muscle performance is an essential factor. With ageing, muscle performance declines and thus maintenance of everyday functional capacity and quality of life may be compromised. Good functional capacity enables active participation in many social activities and services provided by the society.
The research also showed that physical activity can prevent the decline in muscle performance despite the menopausal status.
“Physically active women had greater muscle performance and they had better mobility than women with low physical activity level. Thus, being physically active during the menopausal transition can give more capacity to withstand the potentially negative influence of menopause on muscle performance and mobility,” Dmitriy Bondarev says.
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