The Role of Physical Activity in the Relationship between Menopausal Status, Physical Performance and Mental Well-Being
Women have a longer life expectancy than man; thus, they account for a large proportion of aging society. However, women’s advantage in terms of life expectancy is counterbalanced by a disadvantage in terms of disabling conditions. Women have higher levels of disability, functional limitations and depression compared to men. Among women, menopausal status may contribute to this gender differences in physical functioning and mental well-being.
A recent dissertation from the Faculty of Sports Science of the University of Jyväskylä showed that menopause-related changes may contribute to muscle strength and power impairment and associated with fluctuation in mental well-being.
– Our research showed that postmenopausal women had lower muscle strength and muscle power than peri- or premenopausal women. In addition, we also confirmed this finding in our longitudinal observation in which women who transitioned through perimenopause to postmenopause had a decline in muscle strength and muscle power on average by 2–3 %, says doctoral researcher Dmitriy Bondarev.
In addition to deterioration in phsycal perforance due to menopause-related hormonal changes, many women may experience manopausal symptoms and vulnerability in mental well-being.
– Our results showed that postmenopausal women had more depressive symptoms than peri- or premenopausal women. At the same time menopause was not related to positive mental well-being, says Bondarev.
Physical activity plays an important role in maintaining muscle strength and mental well-being
Despite the observed deterioration in muscle strength and mental well-being due to menopause-related changes, one possible way to reduce the negative role of menopause is to engage women in physical activity.
– We observed that physically active women had greater muscle strength and they had better mobility than women with low physical activity level. We also found that physical activity is beneficial for mental well-being as physically active women experienced fewer depressive symptoms, greater positive affect and were more satisfied with life in comparison to low physically active women. Thus, being physically active during the menopausal transition may help to withstand the negative influence of menopause on depressive symptomatology and spare positive mental well-being, Bondarev summarises.
The dissertation is a part of the Estrogenic Regulation of Muscle Apoptosis - ERMA study. ERMA research is funded by the Academy of Finland (No. 275323 Vuokko Kovanen) and Horizon 2020 Marie Sklodowska-Curie Doctoral Program in the European Union (No. 675003, Sarianna Sipilä).
The examination session of Dmitriy Bondarev's dissertation in Gerontology and Public Health The Role of Physical Activity in the Relationship between Menopausal Status, Physical Performance and Mental Well-Being will be held on 20th of May 2022 at 12 noon in Main Building, auditorium C4. The opponent is Medical director Riitta Luoto (The Social Insurance Institution of Finland, Kela) and the custos is Dean Sarianna Sipilä (University of Jyväskylä). The dissertation is in English.
Dmitriy Bondarev graduated from Lund University and Leipzig University where he got his double Master’s Degree in Medical Science: major in Sport Sciences/Sport Psychology in 2014. Bondarev has previously worked as a dissertation researcher at the Faculty of Sports Science of the University of Jyväskylä and was a visiting researcher at University of Birmingham.
M.Sc. Dmitriy Bondarev
Kooste: Anne-Maj Aunula