Between 1978 and 2004, the percentage of obese women in menopause increased from 17% to 30%. For most people, obesity is due to either eating too much, exercising too little or a combination of the two.
In addition, metabolism slows down with aging. Muscle mass and strength also decline.
A study in the journal Menopause was done to find out whether loss of muscle strength that occurs due to aging (called dynapenia) in obese menopausal women is due more to diet or lack of exercise.
To find out, the authors measured the weight, fat mass and waist circumference of 38 obese women in menopause. Some were asked to diet; some were asked to exercise; some were asked to do both; and for some, nothing was done as a control group.
The women in the dieting group and the dieting plus exercise groups both lost a significant amount of weight, fat mass and waste circomference. Total cholesterol, triglycerides, and systolic and diastolic blood pressure decreased significantly in the dieting group (all P ≤ 0.05). In the diet plus exercise group, total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and systolic blood pressure decreased significantly (P ≤ 0.05).
Physical capacity (meaning how good of shape the person was in) improved significantly in the exercise and diet and exercise groups (all P ≤ 0.05), with significant greater improvements in the exercise group (P ≤ 0.05).
This study shows that obese women in menopause improve their metabolism by dieting whether or not they exercise. However, if they also exercise, they also get in better shape and improve their physical capacity.
So if you are in menopause and overweight, combining dieting with exercise is the best way to improve your appearance, your health and your strength and stamina.