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Blog: MenoPause ~ take time to think about it

  • Daily steps add up for your health

    by Margery Gass | Dec 10, 2012
    Moving 6,000 or more steps a day—no matter how—can add up to a healthier life for you. We already knew that exercise programs can cut the risk of diabetes, which is a risk for heart disease. But a new exercise study from Brazil published online in the NAMS medical journal Menopause shows that you don’t necessarily have to go out for sports. You can be active through your daily activities, such as work, chores, or leisure activities. As long as the women in this study took 6,000 or more daily steps, they were much less likely to be obese or have these other health risks than the inactive women. And it didn’t matter whether or not they were taking hormone therapy. For midlife women, the journey to fitness can start with 6,000 steps.
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  • Exercise Rx: 10 minutes, 3 times a day

    by Margery Gass | Nov 09, 2012
    A new exercise prescription makes it easier than ever to keep your blood pressure under control. And it works better, too, than trying to huff and puff for 30 minutes straight every day. A study of exercise and blood pressure from the Healthy Lifestyles Research Center at Arizona State University showed that walking briskly for 10 minutes 3 times a day was even more effective than one 30-minute session a day at controlling blood pressure. The study volunteers had “prehypertension,” that is higher than normal but not over the hypertension line—but it predisposes people to full-blown hypertension, which can put you at risk of strokes, heart disease, and more. The easy-to accomplish, 10-minute sessions sent the volunteers’ average daily blood pressures down and cut the number of blood pressure spikes above 140/90.

    See more on menopause and exercise in our online magazine Menopause Flashes.


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  • Will exercise help you live long and stay lively?

    by Margery Gass | Sep 14, 2012
    Regular exercise after menopause can help you stay young and live longer. That’s because regular exercise keeps your telomeres long. Ever heard of them? They’re the end caps on chromosomes that get shorter and shorter with age. People—and animals—with longer telomeres look and act younger and live longer than those with shorter ones. You might have heard about telomeres when three scientists won a Nobel Prize in 2009 for their telomere discoveries. Or, you might have seen one of the PBS Scientific American Frontiers episodes with old gray-haired, slow-moving mice next to the sleek, brown, active ones that were really the same age but had longer telomeres. Now, a just-published telomere/exercise study in the NAMS journal Menopause shows you can take a sip from this fountain of youth with regular exercise, which helps keep telomeres long. The postmenopausal women in the study who exercised regularly not only had longer telomeres than women who didn’t exercise, they also had higher levels of adiponectin, which is known to be anti-inflammatory and to help put the brakes on type 2 diabetes and hardening of the arteries. So keep exercising and live long and healthy!

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  • Menopause? Start moving!

    by Margery Gass | Sep 10, 2012
    If you already exercise regularly, great! But if you don’t, now’s the time for so many reasons. Exercise is good for everybody, but it can do even more for you as a woman at menopause. For one, aerobic exercise can ease your hot flashes. You might think that physical activity, which raises your body temperature, would bring hot flashes on, but that’s not the case, shows research published in the NAMS journal Menopause.

    On average, the midlife women in this study had fewer hot flash symptoms in the 24 hours after a moderate-intensity, 30-minute exercise session. Women with lower fitness levels, however, didn’t get as much benefit.

    Exercise also helps beat back the risks that rise for you at this time of life—heart disease, diabetes, and osteoporosis. The American Heart Association puts being a couch potato right up there with bad cholesterol levels as a heart disease risk. The risk of diabetes goes up, too, but exercise has the power to beat it back and even cure type 2 (adult onset) diabetes, as it has for a number of The Biggest Loser contestants.

    Menopause is also a time when you can lose bone mass, and exercise is one way to keep your bones strong and even make them stronger. One of the latest studies shows that just 2 hours of exercise a week knocks down levels of a hormone that promotes bone loss and pumps up a growth factor that builds bone.

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  • Low-risk women can skip the treadmill stress test

    by Margery Gass | Jul 30, 2012
    Thinking about starting an exercise program? You don’t have to have an electrocardiogram (ECG) or a treadmill stress test if you’re not at risk of heart disease and you don’t have symptoms, such as shortness of breath or chest pains, according to an expert US government panel. Late in July, the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) issued a recommendation against routine ECG testing. 

    “At risk” is the key. If you have high blood pressure or diabetes, for example, the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association say that an ECG may be reasonable, even if you don’t have symptoms. They also say it may be appropriate for women with intermediate heart disease risk and no symptoms who want to start a vigorous, high-impact exercise program.

    If you are unsure about your risk for heart disease, check with your provider.

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MenoPause: the blog!

Posts to our Blog are written by NAMS staff members and Dr. Margery Gass. All posts are reviewed and edited by Dr. Gass. We strive to bring you the most recent and interesting information about various aspect of menopause and midlife health. We accept no advertising for our website. We want you to have accurate, unbiased, evidence-based information. 

Margery L.S. Gass, MD, NCMP
NAMS Executive Director

An internationally recognized leader in the field of menopause, Dr. Gass became Executive Director of The North American Menopause Society in 2010. Dr. Gass has been an investigator on numerous research projects, including serving as a principal investigator for the Women’s Health Initiative, and has published and presented on a wide range of topics related to menopause, including osteoporosis, sexual dysfunction, and hormone therapy.

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