NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – As women go through menopause, they may see a decline in their ability to carry groceries, climb stairs and get other routine tasks done, a new study suggests.
Exactly why is not clear, though extra pounds and depression symptoms seemed to account for some of the link.
“There is something going on during menopause. There is definitely a connection between menopause and the physical limitations women perceive themselves as having,” said lead researcher Lisa Tseng, a medical student at the University of Pittsburgh.
According to Tseng, her findings suggest that the “physiological changes” of menopause play a role.
A woman’s body composition, for example, tends to change – with an increase in fat and decrease in muscle mass. And with the decline in estrogen levels, bone mass dips as well.
Men also lose muscle mass and strength as they age. But studies have found that women’s strength decline seems to speed up around menopause.
The bottom line for women is to stay physically active as they age, according to Dr. Timothy Church, who was not involved in the new study.
And that should include aerobic exercise and strength training to help hang on to your muscle mass, said Church, a researcher at Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.