Exercise is one of the best things that you can do for your health and body. Many people chose to exercise to stay in shape, to improve their health, or as a way to relax and unwind. It has many benefits including improving your health and fitness, and reducing the risk of chronic diseases. But some believe that exercise may not always be the best thing for women nearing menopause.
Women usually experience menopause between their 40’s to 50’s. But, for some women menopause or the symptoms of it can begin much earlier.
Is there a link?
There is a current debate of whether early menopause and exercise are linked. There is research to support each side of this debate, as well as research to support that may be no link altogether. This article will look at all of the research on this question.
Exercise May help to Delay the Onset of Early Menopause
Some research says that exercising is one of the best things that you could do to help delay the onset of menopause. Exercise helps to regulate hormones and maintain normal levels of body fat. However, like most things in life, less is more. It is important to exercise moderately and not to extremes
Several studies have found that women that have daily physical activity tend to enter menopause at an older age. Therefore leading to the idea that physical activity does not link to early menopause, but rather can help to prolong it.
Some studies show that women who exercise are linked to having irregular menstrual cycles, which could result in a later onset of menopause.
Exercise May be to Blame for Early Menopause
Other research shows that there is an association between extreme or long exercise and early menopause. Studies have found that usually five or more hours of exercise per week have been linked to early menopause. This is due to the hormonal imbalance that excessive exercise can create. This hormonal imbalance causes irregular ovulations and possibly even early hormonal depletion.
Some women report finding high intensity workouts more exhausting when they reach ages near menopause. This may be due to busy lifestyles and the changing hormonal environment associated with menopause, which can increase cortisol levels significantly. This increase can cause an increase of inflammation and joint issues within the body.
A Japanese study shows that women who spend a lot of time exercising or eating a heart-healthy diet have been known to reach menopause earlier. This study tracked more than 3,100 premenopausal women for over 10 years. The women who exercised the most, about eight to ten hours a week, were 17 percent more likely to suffer from early menopause than their peers.
There May be No Link at all Between Exercise and Early Menopause
Research shows that from a test of 107,000 women in a 20 year follow up, only 2,786 women experienced natural menopause before they were 45. The study found no significant difference in the risk of menopause between women that reported less than three hours of physical activity a week and women who reported 42 or more hours per week. There was no association between physical activity at any age and early natural menopause. This study deemed that environmental factors were more to blame for the early onset of menopause.
While there are many studies out there that argue each side, the takeaway from this debate may be finding somewhere in the middle. Physical activity and exercise has been found to have many benefits for the mind and body. Finding a routine that incorporates some physical activity in moderation may be what’s best. Much like other things in life, working out too intensely or too long may cause more issues than good. It is important to keep in mind that every woman is unique and will experience menopause in a different way. What works for one woman, may not always work for another.