Menopause: physical activity protects against depression

Menopause: physical activity protects against depression

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How can menopausal women protect themselves from depression?

Women can experience depressive symptoms during menopause. This risk can be reduced if menopausal women have a high level of physical activity. Physical activity is associated with less depressive symptoms and increased life satisfaction.

A recent study by the University of Jyväskylä in Finland found that increased physical activity can protect menopausal women from depressive symptoms. The results of the study were published in the English-language journal "Menopause".

Three phases of menopause

Menopause occurs on average between the ages of 46 and 52 and means the aging of a woman's reproductive system, which has far-reaching effects on many bodily functions. The transition to menopause is divided into three phases: premenopause begins five to ten years before menopause with a gradual irregularity in the menstrual cycle, perimenopause is the time before the last menstruation when the function of the ovaries wears off noticeably, and postmenopause is the time after the last menstruation.

Reduced well-being in the menopause

The researchers analyzed possible relationships between menopause and mental health in middle-aged women and found that "postmenopausal women had more depressive symptoms than peri- or premenopausal women," said study author Dmitriy Bondarev from the University of Jyväskylä in a press release. Regardless of the status of the menopause, however, positive effects of physical activity on well-being were noted.

Effects of increased physical activity

The results of the study show that physical activity is generally beneficial for mental well-being in middle-aged women, reports the research team. A high level of physical activity is associated with less depressive symptoms, a higher life satisfaction and a more positive basic attitude in menopausal women.

Physically active women were happier with their lives

"Physically active women had fewer depressive symptoms, had higher positive affect values ​​and were happier with life than inactive women," Dmitriy Bondarev continues. To be physically active during the transition to the menopause can help to resist the negative influence of menopause on the psyche and to strengthen the positive psychological well-being, the expert summarizes.

Data from more than 1,000 women were evaluated

The current study is part of the ERMA study (Estrogenic Regulation of Muscle Apoptosis), in which over 1,000 women aged 47 to 55 were involved. In the present study, the menopausal stage was determined by the serum hormone concentrations and menstrual diaries. The participants stated that their mental well-being and physical activity were themselves. (as)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the requirements of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


  • Bondarev, Dmitriy MSc; Sipila, Sarianna PhD; Finni, Taija PhD; Kujala, Urho M. PhD; Aukee, Pauliina PhD et al .: The role of physical activity in the link between menopausal status and mental well-being, in Menopause (Published Volume 27, Issue 4, Page 398-409, April 2020), Menopause
  • Physical activity contributes to positive mental well-being in middle-aged women despite their menopausal status, University of Jyväskylä (published April 1, 2020), University of Jyväskylä

Video: Depression in Menopause transition: Hadine Joffe, MD, MSc (September 2022).


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