By Kiersten Willis, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Troy Warren for CNT #health
Postmenopausal women can experience many different symptoms. But a new study shows one way to combat them is dancing.
Study results published in The North American Menopause Society journal Menopause show dancing may effectively decrease cholesterol and boost fitness and body composition while improving self-esteem.
After menopause, women face a higher chance of gaining weight and becoming obese and have higher bad cholesterol levels. According to Cleveland Clinic, a lower estrogen level means “postmenopausal women are at increased risk for a number of health conditions, such as osteoporosis and heart disease.”
Postmenopausal women are often less physically active, putting them at risk of falls and fractures. The changes can also lead to low self-esteem.
The NAMS study evaluated how dance affected postmenopausal women’s body composition, metabolic profile, functional fitness and self-image/self-esteem. The study used a small sample size, but the results indicated some convincing benefits of dancing three times per week. It improved women’s cholesterol tests, functional fitness, self-image and self-esteem.
“We expected improvement in body composition, functional fitness, self-image and self-esteem,” Camila Buonani da Silva, professor at Sao Paulo State University in Brazil and a study co-author, told Today. “Although we (had) asked (them) not to change eating habits, there was an improvement in the lipid profile, which surprised us. We believe that this improvement occurred because women started to take care of themselves more when they began to feel the benefits of regular physical activity.”
Dancing is attractive because it’s associated with low cost and low injury risk. It also improves balance, posture, gait, strength and overall physical performance. All of these benefits may contribute to a woman’s ability to maintain an independent, high-quality lifestyle throughout her lifespan.
“This study highlights the feasibility of a simple intervention, such as a dance class three times weekly, for improving not only fitness and metabolic profile but also self-image and self-esteem in postmenopausal women,” Dr. Stephanie Faubion, NAMS medical director said in a press release. “In addition to these benefits, women also probably enjoyed a sense of camaraderie from the shared experience of learning something new.”
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