Effect of aerobic training on menopausal symptoms--a randomized controlled trial

Menopause. 2012 Jun;19(6):691-6. doi: 10.1097/gme.0b013e31823cc5f7.


Objective: The aim of this study was to assess whether aerobic training affects menopausal symptoms in recently postmenopausal sedentary women.

Methods: Symptomatic women aged 45 to 63 years (N = 176; 3-36 months since last menstruation) were randomly assigned to an aerobic training or a control group. The intervention included unsupervised aerobic training for 50 minutes four times weekly for 24 weeks, whereas the control group attended health lectures twice a month. Symptoms were reported twice a day using a mobile phone. The perceived disturbance of menopausal symptoms (night sweats, mood swings, irritability, depressive mood, headache, vaginal dryness, and urinary symptoms) was evaluated on a scale from 1 (low) to 5 (high). Multilevel mixed-effect ordinal regression models were based on 17,000 responses during 24 weeks.

Results: One hundred fifty-four women continued until the end of the study (88% compliance rate). Baseline prevalence was as follows: night sweats, 50% to 60%; irritability and depression, 20% to 25%; mood swings, 25% to 30%; headache and urinary problems, 15% to 20%; and vaginal dryness, 10% to 15%. The prevalence of all symptoms except vaginal dryness decreased among intervention groups. According to multilevel mixed-effect ordinal regression analysis, night sweats and mood swings (P < 0.001) and disturbance of the mood swings (P < 0.001) and irritability (P < 0.001) were reduced more among the women in the intervention group than in the control group.

Conclusions: In sedentary women, aerobic training for 6 months may decrease the typical menopausal symptoms, especially night sweats, mood swings, and irritability.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Depression / epidemiology
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Headache / epidemiology
  • Hot Flashes / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Irritable Mood
  • Menopause / physiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Sweating
  • Urologic Diseases / epidemiology
  • Vaginal Diseases / epidemiology