February 10, 2009

Exercise increases quality of life

Exercise improves quality of life in post-menopausal women even if they don't lose weight, U.S. researchers suggest.

Corby K. Martin of the Pennington Biomedical Research Center and Louisiana State University System in Baton Rouge and colleagues studied the effect of 50 percent, 100 percent and 150 percent of current public health physical activity recommendations on quality of life in 430 sedentary post-menopausal women with an average age 57.4.

Participants were randomly assigned to a non-exercise control group, or one of three exercise groups.

Each group that exercised spent 73.9, 138.3 and 183.6 minutes per week, respectively, exercising. The average weight loss in the control group was 2.07 pounds, 2.95 pounds in the group that exercised the least, 4.10 pounds in the next group and 2.95 pounds for the group that exercised the most.

The middle group had women who did not adhere to the exercise as much as the women in the other two groups.

A dose-response effect of exercise on quality of life was noted for all aspects of quality of life except bodily pain, the researchers said in a statement. In addition, the group that exercised the least had significantly improved general health perception, vitality and mental health compared with the control group -- all three exercise groups had significantly improved social functioning compared with the control group.

The study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, said the results indicate that improved quality of life can be added to the list of exercise benefits and that these improvements are dose dependent and independent of weight loss, at least among people similar to this study's sample.