Effects of a12-week endurance exercise program on adiposity and flexibility of Nigerian perimenopausal and postmenopausal women

Niger J Physiol Sci. 2011 Dec 20;26(2):199-206.


Menopause is a sign of aging in the woman. Loss of ovarian function induces a reduction in resting metabolic rate, physical energy expenditure, fat-free mass and abdominal adipose tissue accumulation. Location of adipose tissue deposit in abdominal region plays an important role in occurrence of hyperlipidemia, diabetes, hypertension and atherosclerosis. Although regular participation in physical exercise have been suggested to improve adiposity and body flexibility which are important health related components of physical fitness, few published studies are available on the effect of exercise on Nigerian menopausal women. This study investigated effects of a twelve-week endurance exercise program (EEP) on central and abdominal obesity as well as flexibility of perimenopausal and postmenopausal Nigerian women. The study employed a pretest- posttest control group design comprising a sample of 175 apparently healthy, literate, sedentary women within age range 40-59 years. They were workers in state and federal establishments in Ibadan North Local Government Area of Oyo State, Nigeria. Based on history of their last menstrual period, women with regular or irregular menstrual cycle status were allocated into perimenopausal group and those who no longer menstruated into postmenopausal group. A table of random numbers was used for further allocation into perimenopausal exercise group (PEMEG, 45), postmenopausal exercise group (POMEG, 45) perimenopausal control group (PEMCG, 42) and postmenopausal control group (POMCG, 43). Waist Hip Ratio (WHR), Body Mass Index (BMI) as well as Hip and Trunk Flexibility (HTF) were evaluated at baseline and 4weekly intervals until end of 12th week. EEP consisted of a 10-station circuit of cardiovascular endurance, flexibility, coordination, abdominal and pelvic floor muscle exercises. Data were analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics. Mean age of participants was 52.3±4.1 years, 95% C.I (51.64-52.88) years. Significant reduction occurred between baseline and end of 12th week mean values of WHR in PEMEG (0.86 ± 0.08 vs 0.71 ± 0.07)and POMEG groups (0.88± 0.06 vs0.77 ± 0.07) while significant increases were observed between baseline values and end of 12th week mean values of HTF in PEMEG (18.84 ± 4.23vs28.27± 3.82) and POMEG (19.51 ± 4.02vs25.97± 2.36) (p<0.05). Significant changes did not occur in BMI in both groups even though mean differences were observed in baseline values compared with end of 12th week mean values of these variables. In PEMCG and POMCG groups, there were no observable changes in mean values of WHR, BMI and HTF from baseline to end of study. Participation in endurance exercise program is essential for perimenopausal and postmenopausal Nigerian women for improved central and abdominal adiposity as well as flexibility.

MeSH terms

  • Adiposity / physiology*
  • Anaerobic Threshold / physiology
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Body Composition
  • Body Mass Index
  • Exercise Therapy / methods*
  • Female
  • Heart Rate / physiology
  • Humans
  • Menopause / physiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Nigeria
  • Physical Endurance / physiology*
  • Postmenopause / physiology*
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Waist-Hip Ratio