Aim. This paper reports a study examining the effects of physical exercise on the quality of life of menopausal women.
Background. People who perform no type of physical activity have poorer physical and mental health. Despite the well-documented benefits of exercise, ageing women remain largely sedentary, and interventions designed to help them to maintain exercise programmes may prove particularly valuable. Measures should focus on increasing women's confidence so that they can overcome barriers to exercise. Conflicting results have been reported in intervention studies to promote exercise in postmenopausal women.
Methods. Forty-eight menopausal women aged 55–72 years were recruited at a primary care centre as voluntary participants in a quasi-experimental study. They were randomly assigned to one of two groups: control (n = 24) and experimental (n = 24). The experimental group participated in a 12-month programme of cardiorespiratory, stretching, muscle-strengthening and relaxation exercises carried out during two fully supervised exercise sessions per week (total of 3 hours weekly). Health-related quality of life was assessed by using the Quality of Life Profile for Chronically Ill Patients, a generic questionnaire widely used in epidemiological and clinical studies to measure well-being and function, incorporating as an optional module the Kupperman Index of Menopausal Symptomatology.
Results. There was a statistically significant improvement in the health-related quality of life of the experimental group, whereas the health-related quality of life of the control group significantly worsened. Menopausal symptoms also significantly improved in the experimental group and significantly worsened in the control group over the 12-month study period.
Conclusions. A customized exercise programme is valuable for improving the health-related quality of life of menopausal women.