Cardiac Adaptations to High-Intensity Aerobic Training in Premenopausal and Recent Postmenopausal Women: The Copenhagen Women Study

J Am Heart Assoc. 2017 Aug 18;6(8):e005469. doi: 10.1161/JAHA.117.005469.


Background: We examined the role of menopause on cardiac dimensions and function and assessed the efficacy of exercise training before and after menopause.

Methods and results: Two groups of healthy premenopausal (n=36, 49.4±0.3 years) and postmenopausal (n=37, 53.5±0.5 years) women with no history of cardiovascular disease and with a mean age difference between groups of only 4 years were studied. Cardiac dimensions and systolic and diastolic function were determined by transthoracic echocardiography with tissue Doppler imaging and 2-dimensional speckle tracking. Measurements were performed at baseline and after a 12-week period of high-intensity aerobic cycle training. LV internal diastolic diameter and LV mass were similar in the 2 groups at baseline and increased by ≈2% to 8% (P=0.04-0.0007) with training in both groups. Left atrial end-diastolic and end-systolic volumes were similar for both groups and increased by 23% to 36% (P=0.0006-0.0001) with training. Systolic function assessed by mean global strain was similar in both groups at baseline and increased by ≈8% (P=0.0004) with training in the postmenopausal group. LV displacement increased by ≈3% (P=0.04) in the premenopausal women only. Diastolic function assessed by E/A ratio was similar at baseline and increased by ≈7% (P=0.01) in the premenopausal group and 11% (P=0.0001) in the postmenopausal group with training.

Conclusions: These results suggest that training-induced cardiac adaptations are preserved in the early postmenopausal phase. Furthermore, the hormonal changes associated with the menopausal transition do not appear to affect cardiac dimensions and function.

Clinical trial registration: URL: Unique identifier: NCT02135575.

Keywords: E/A ratio; exercise training; menopause; transthoracic echocardiography; women.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological
  • Atrial Function, Left
  • Bicycling
  • Denmark
  • Diastole
  • Echocardiography, Doppler
  • Exercise Therapy / methods*
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Heart / diagnostic imaging
  • Heart / physiology*
  • Heart Rate
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Postmenopause*
  • Premenopause*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Systole
  • Time Factors
  • Ventricular Function, Left
  • Ventricular Function, Right

Associated data