Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Light to moderate exercise key to health in post-menopausal women

05.09.2005


Exercise is essential for reducing the risk of osteoporosis and heart disease in post-menopausal women. But too much exercise in pre-menopausal women may actually increase the risks. These claims will be made by Dr Karen Birch, Senior Lecturer in Exercise Physiology at the University of Leeds, during the BA Festival of Science in Dublin this week.



From puberty to the menopause, females cyclically produce the reproductive hormones oestrogen and progesterone. Research has now shown how these hormones interact with both health and physical activity.

Oestrogen is important because it protects against the development of both osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease. Light to moderate intensity physical activity enhances the beneficial effects of the reproductive hormones upon bone strength and the cardiovascular system (heart and blood vessels) and is associated with a decreased risk of disease and early death. In recent large scale studies people who are overweight (not obese), but physically active have been seen to have less risk of disease and disease-related death than those people who are normal weight but sedentary.


‘It is essential that women exercise moderately before and during the onset of menopause,’ argues Dr Birch. ‘Post-menopause, the loss of the hormone oestrogen results in a reversal of the protective effects. Women’s bone mineral density begins to decrease, their arteries begin to become stiffer, their cholesterol levels begin to rise and their risk of becoming diabetic increases. These physiological changes are much slower in women who participated in an active lifestyle prior to the menopause than in those who were inactive.’

However, any loss of exposure, for example by a delayed onset of menstruation or periods of time where menstruation ceases, can have a negative impact upon health. Both have been related to participation in high intensity or high volumes of physical activity. Recent research has indicated that this problem is a result of the body switching off menstruation when energy intake (from food) is less than energy expenditure (energy used in everyday activities and in physical activity). The consequence of high amounts of physical activity in these examples is a loss of fertility and a negative effect upon immediate and long term health.

‘The key seems to be to exercise in moderation, but to be sure to do some exercise,’ stressed Dr Birch.

The relationship between physical activity, reproductive hormones and health is further complicated by the impact of other sources of the hormone oestrogen. For example oestrogen compounds can be found in food sources, contraceptive the pill and hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Traditionally, HRT was seen as a hugely positive product for protecting against bone loss in post-menopausal women, but more recently, researchers have indicated the potential of HRT to increase the risk of both cardiovascular disease and breast cancer in women, and as such HRT is no longer used to protect against osteoporosis. In fact, the use of HRT has decreased significantly due to these problems.

‘This work is very timely because levels of obesity are rising and HRT use is falling,’ says Dr Birch. ‘The effect of these two things for women is catastrophic to their health and well-being. If light-moderate intensity physical activity can reduce health risks by counteracting the effects of weight gain and loss of oestrogen an enormous hurdle can be jumped.’

Dr Birch’s talk is part of the event “Celebrity diets, obesity and hormones: what does science have to say?” on Thursday 8 September at the BA Festival of Science. Other talks during this event include:

“Diet and health: What’s in and what’s not!”

Dr Claire Mac Evilly, Nutrition Communications Manager at the Medical Research Council’s Human Nutrition Research Centre will warn that fad diets such as GI and Atkins are nothing more than a quick fix and actually encourage unhealthy eating habits. She will argue that in order for people to achieve long-term benefits, we need to look more closely at encouraging them to look at a variety of diet options and match them with their food preferences and lifestyles.

“Obesity: No laughing matter”

After hundreds of years of increasing life expectancy, through banishment of bubonic plague and smallpox, no world wars, discovery of antibiotics, state-of-the-art medical treatments, seat belts, and anti-smoking campaigns, childhood obesity will be solely responsible for the reduction of life expectancy, argues Dr David Haslam, Chair of the National Obesity Forum. Dr Haslam will say that celebrity diets are nothing new under the sun: the novel selling point is the celebrity, not the diet.

The BA Festival of Science will take place in Dublin from 3-10 September, bringing over 300 of the UK and Ireland’s top scientists and engineers to discuss the latest developments in science with the public. In addition to talks and debates at Trinity College Dublin, there will be a host of events throughout the city as part of the Festival in the City programme. For further information on the BA Festival of Science, visit www.the-ba.net/festivalofscience.

The main sponsors of the BA Festival of Science are Trinity College Dublin, Discover Science and Engineering and the Department of Education and Science.

Craig Brierley | alfa
Further information:
http://www.the-ba.net/festivalofscience

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Penn vet research identifies new target for taming Ebola
12.01.2017 | University of Pennsylvania

nachricht The strange double life of Dab2
10.01.2017 | University of Miami Miller School of Medicine

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

Im Focus: How to inflate a hardened concrete shell with a weight of 80 t

At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).

Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...

Im Focus: Bacterial Pac Man molecule snaps at sugar

Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.

The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...

Im Focus: Newly proposed reference datasets improve weather satellite data quality

UMD, NOAA collaboration demonstrates suitability of in-orbit datasets for weather satellite calibration

"Traffic and weather, together on the hour!" blasts your local radio station, while your smartphone knows the weather halfway across the world. A network of...

Im Focus: Repairing defects in fiber-reinforced plastics more efficiently

Fiber-reinforced plastics (FRP) are frequently used in the aeronautic and automobile industry. However, the repair of workpieces made of these composite materials is often less profitable than exchanging the part. In order to increase the lifetime of FRP parts and to make them more eco-efficient, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) and the Apodius GmbH want to combine a new measuring device for fiber layer orientation with an innovative laser-based repair process.

Defects in FRP pieces may be production or operation-related. Whether or not repair is cost-effective depends on the geometry of the defective area, the tools...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

Nothing will happen without batteries making it happen!

05.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Multiregional brain on a chip

16.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

New technology enables 5-D imaging in live animals, humans

16.01.2017 | Information Technology

Researchers develop environmentally friendly soy air filter

16.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>