Effects of Stretching on Menopausal and Depressive Symptoms in Middle-aged Women

A Randomized Controlled Trial

Yuko Kai, PhD; Toshiya Nagamatsu, PhD; Yoshinori Kitabatake, MSc; Hiroomi Sensui, PhD


Menopause. 2016;23(8):827-832. 

In This Article


A total of 45 potential participants were recruited. Of these, one applicant was excluded on the basis of the above criteria, two declined to participate, and two were unable to participate (Fig. 1). Thus, in all, 40 participants were enrolled and randomized; 20 participants were allocated to the stretching group and 20 to the control group. Because of a change in personal circumstances, one participant in the stretching group dropped out of the study after the initial baseline survey, without receiving any intervention.

Figure 1.

Flow diagram for the trial.

Over half of the participants were postmenopausal (55.0%) and had depression (62.5%). In addition, most of the participants were inactive and did not participate in leisure-time physical activity. A minority of the participants regularly consumed alcohol (40%) or smoked (27.5%). Significant differences in the average age, menopausal status, depression, hot flashes, alcohol and cigarette consumption, job stress, leisure-time physical activity, SMI scores, and SDS scores were not observed between the groups at baseline (Table 1).

The average number of days per week that the stretching program was implemented at home was 5.1 ± 1.9 days for the first week, 5.4 ± 1.8 days for the second week, and 5.4 ± 1.9 days for the third week. The overall implementation rate for the 3-week intervention program was 75.8%.

The total SMI scores (effect size = -0.86) including the vasomotor (-0.78), psychological (-0.48), and somatic (-0.84) symptoms, and the SDS (-0.46) scores significantly decreased in the stretching group compared with that in the control group (Table 2). Five of the 12 participants (41.7%) who had depression at baseline recovered to the normal level after the intervention in the stretching group. In contrast, only 2 of the 13 participants (15.4%) recovered in the control group.

The frequency of hot flashes after the intervention was not significantly different between the stretching (25%) and control (45%) groups (P = 0.320). No adverse events, including an increased frequency of hot flashes, were reported by any of the participants during the study period.