Shape up: post menopause, shapeshifting gets easier

Anna Mooney.

Yes, you read that right - a new North American study shows that after menopause, even light exercise has MORE effect on your shape than before...

We all know that exercise is good for you, regardless of your age. But a new study out of the University of Massachusetts Amherst shows that some types of physical activity have a greater impact on body composition in postmenopausal compared to premenopausal women.

That’s good news for postmenopausal women. We can shape-shift at will at middle age.

However, the study also found that after menopause, we have a higher body mass index (BMI), waist circumference and percentage of body fat.

Even light activity can impact post menopause shape

No news there - it is a generally accepted fact that women tend to gain weight as they go through menopause. The encouraging part of the study, though, is that after menopause, we may have more control over their body composition than before. The reason?  Our body composition is more impacted by light physical activity, such as casual walking or yard work, and by sedentary behavior. Your choice, people!

Over 600 premenopausal and 274 postmenopausal women were studied in various forms of physical activity and sedentary periods. Not surprisingly, postmenopausal women, registered less total movement and more sedentary time than premenopausal women. And more movement and physical activity were associated with a lower BMI, waist circumference and lower body fat percentage for all women, but for the post-menopausers, light physical movement had a big impact on shape – with good improvements.

Motivated? another good reason to move

It’s good to hear – often, going through menopause and all its physical symptoms, our motivation to exercise can dive. We often feel it’s an uphill struggle and assume that menopause automatically makes an apple or pear shape our destiny. Not so.

This study confirms that even a little bit of exercise may make a big difference in body composition.

 “Regular exercise has so many benefits for women of all ages—from providing more energy and greater mobility to helping to build bone density,” explains Dr. Wulf Utian, executive director of the North American Menopause Society (NAMS). “This study suggests, though, for postmenopausal women, weight management may be improved with a variety of physical activities.”

Source: NAMS:

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