Something as simple as climbing up 192 stairs, a few times a day, can help lower blood pressure and strengthen leg muscles, a new study shows.
This could be especially useful for women who are unable or can’t afford to go to a gym.
This could help fight the negative effects of the menopause, which often raises blood pressure and results in smaller muscles because of lower oestrogen.
A study from Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS), looked at postmenopausal Korean women, who also suffered from hypertension, or high blood pressure.
The women were given a stair-climbing training regime, where they had to climb 192 steps four times a week, and up to five times a day
At the end of the 12-week research period, the women had lowered their blood pressure significantly, as well as increasing their leg strength.
‘This study demonstrates how simple lifestyle interventions, such as stair climbing can be effective in reducing the negative effects of menopause,’ Dr JoAnn Pinkerton said, who is the executive director of the North American Menopause society.
The results of this study may open up a door for women to fight the effects of menopause in their homes who don’t otherwise have access to reliable ways to exercise.
For example, high-intensity resistance training (short bursts of intense, muscle-building activity), although effective at building muscle, may actually exacerbate high blood pressure.
Even those without hypertension may feel that the expense, time and travel required to go to a gym are too much, or feel embarrassed about exercising in a public space, in a youth-oriented environment.
The good news is that exercise can be undertaken easily at home to reduce the negative effects associated with the menopause.
Managing the menopause
Previous studies have shown that there are other ways to mitigate the effects the menopause can have on the mind and body.
The risk of depression, for example, is doubled as a woman’s reproductive hormones decline between the ages of 45 and 60.
According to a recent study, women experiencing menopause can prevent these depressive symptoms with hormone therapy.
The research, from the University of North Carolina, found that a year of hormone therapy was more effective than a placebo at preventing the onset of these depressive symptoms, however.
Previous research showed that hormone therapy can help ease the symptoms of depression, while this study was the first of its kind to find that the same treatment can be taken preventatively to help women dodge depression entirely.