Although other studies have shown the value of structured exercise in lowering health risks such as diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease, this study has shown that habitual physical activity – whether it comes from exercising or just activities of daily living – has the power to improve women’s health.
In Passo Fundo, Brazil, 292 women aged between 45 and 72 years wore pedometers and recorded their daily steps. Women who took 6,000 or more steps per day were considered active and those who took fewer inactive, the journal Menopause reported.
They also had health checks such as cholesterol and blood sugar and waist and hip measurement (to gauge abdominal obesity, which is a risk for diabetes and cardiovascular disease), according to a statement of National Council for Scientific and Technological Development, Brazil.
Veronica Colpani, Karen Oppermann and Poli Mara Spritzer, who co-authored the study, said that active women were much less likely than the inactive ones to be obese and have metabolic syndrome or frank diabetes, whether or not they had gone through menopause – when these risks usually go up – and whether or not they were using hormone therapy.