Harvard Women's Health Watch

Exercise works even better after menopause, study indicates

Research we're watching

A study reported at the 2015 annual meeting of the North American Menopause Society shows that some types of physical activity have a greater impact on body composition in postmenopausal women than in premenopausal ones.

Researchers at the University of Massachusetts asked 630 premenopausal and 274 postmenopausal women to wear accelerometers (motion trackers) to estimate the amount of time they spent doing physical activity. Although the postmenopausal women, on average, logged fewer active hours and more sedentary time than the premenopausal women, they gained more from the time they did spend in motion. Increased activity was associated with greater reductions in body mass index, waist size, and percentage of body fat in postmenopausal women than in their premenopausal counterparts.

If you've noticed your weight creeping up or your waistline expanding after menopause, this study should encourage you to get moving. Even light activity, such as gardening, housework, or a stroll around the block, can help your waist and weight.