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Climacteric. 2014 Apr;17(2):155-63. doi: 10.3109/13697137.2013.819328. Epub 2013 Sep 3.

Effects of a 12-month multi-component exercise program on the body composition of postmenopausal women.

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* Research Center in Sports Sciences, Health and Human Development, University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro , Vila Real , Portugal.



The aims of this study were to identify the effects of a 12-month exercise program on the body composition of postmenopausal women and to examine the interaction of menopause characteristics (nature and time since menopause, hormone therapy) with exercise.


A total of 158 postmenopausal Caucasian women were analyzed in this study (70 in the control and 88 in the exercise group). This subset is part of the 'Shape up during menopause' which is a program that aims to develop exercise and health promotion in postmenopausal women. Exercise and control groups were tested before and at the end of the program. Data related to menopause were obtained through medical history. Measurements of fat mass, visceral fat area, skeletal muscle mass, fat-free mass, soft lean mass, and basal metabolic rate were assessed by octopolar bioimpedance.


Alongside basal metabolic rate, all the anthropometric and body composition variables were influenced by the exercise program. The major differences between groups were found in skeletal muscle mass, total soft lean mass, fat-free mass, and skeletal muscle mass index (effect sizes ranged from 0.89 to 6.64). There were no interactive effects found between exercise and menopause characteristics.


There were positive changes in all measured variables and no significant interactive effects with menopause characteristics; therefore, our data suggest that exercise alone promoted improvements in the body composition of postmenopausal women.

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