Exercise Effects on Menopausal Risk Factors of Early Postmenopausal Women: 3-yr Erlangen Fitness Osteoporosis Prevention Study Results

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To determine the impact of multipurpose exercise training on bone, body composition, blood lipids, physical fitness, and menopausal symptoms in early postmenopausal women with osteopenia.


Forty-eight fully compliant (more than two sessions per week for 38 months) women (55.1 ± 3.3 yr) without any medication or illness affecting bone metabolism took part in the exercise training (EG); 30 women (55.5 ± 3.0 yr) served as the nontraining control group (CG). Both groups were individually supplemented with calcium and vitamin D. Bone mineral density (BMD) at various sites (lumbar spine, hip, forearm, calcaneus) was measured by dual x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) and quantitative ultrasound (QUS). Maximal isometric and dynamic strength, maximal oxygen consumption (V̇O2max), CHD risk factors (blood lipids, body composition), and menopausal symptoms were determined.


After 38 months, significant differences between EG and CG were observed for the BMD at the lumbar spine (0.7% vs −3.0%) and the femoral neck (−0.7% vs −2.6%), body composition (waist circumference, waist-to-hip ratio), blood lipids (total cholesterol, triglycerides), and menopausal symptoms (insomnia, migraines, mood changes). Maximal isometric strength increased significantly by 10–36% in the EG, whereas, with one exception, changes in the CG were all negative. One-repetition maximum increased significantly at all sites measured (15–43%, P < 0.001). V̇O2max of the EG increased throughout the study with a significant 13.9 ± 15.6% net increase after 3 yr. No significant changes after 3 yr could be observed in the CG.


Our mixed high-intensity exercise program effectively compensates for most negative changes related to the menopausal transition.

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