Association Between Physical Activity and Menopausal Symptoms in Perimenopausal Women

Min-Ju Kim; Juhee Cho; Younjhin Ahn; Gyeyoon Yim; Hyun-Young Park


BMC Womens Health. 2014;14(122) 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Background Physical activity may be an effective way of preventing or attenuating menopause-related symptoms, and it has been shown to improve quality of life in menopausal women. However, there have been some inconsistencies regarding between exercise and menopausal symptoms, and study investigating this association has been scarce in Korea. In this study, the association between physical activity and menopausal symptoms in perimenopausal women in Korea was assessed.

Methods This cross-sectional observational study was conducted between November 2012 and March 2013. In total, 2,204 healthy women aged 44–56 years were recruited from a healthcare center at the Kangbuk Samsung hospitals for investigating women's attitudes towards menopause. To investigate the influence of physical activity on perimenopause-associated symptoms, 631 perimenopausal women were selected for this study. Their physical activity levels were assessed using the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ) short form. The Menopause-specific Quality of Life (MENQOL) questionnaire was used to assess menopause-related symptoms.

Results The study participants were, on average, 48.5 ± 2.7 years old and had a mean body mass index of 22.8 ± 3.1 kg/m2. The total MENQOL score and the psychosocial and physical subscores exhibited U-shaped trends in relation to the level of physical activity. Multiple linear regression analysis adjusted for confounding variables showed that perimenopausal women who performed moderate physical activity reported significantly lower psychosocial (β = -0.413, P = 0.012) and physical symptoms (β = -0.445, P = 0.002) than women who performed low physical activity. By contrast, a high level of physical activity did not influence the MENQOL total score and subscores relative to the low activity group. In addition, no associations were observed between physical activity and the vasomotor and sexual symptoms in any group.

Conclusions Moderate level of physical activity was associated with reduced psychosocial and physical menopause symptoms in perimenopausal Korean women. Although these findings must be confirmed by prospective longitudinal studies, they suggest that physical activity may improve the symptoms of menopause, thereby increasing quality of life.