With more menopausal women seeking natural
therapies to ease symptoms, a new study has
found that simply adding a brisk walking
routine can reduce a variety of psychological
symptoms such as anxiety, stress and depression.
The research is published in the January issue
of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.
“With the aging population, physical activity
represents one way for women to stay mentally
healthy. Physical activity can help throughout
the menopausal transition and afterwards,” said
Temple University public health researcher Deborah
Nelson, Ph.D, the study’s lead author.
From 1996 to 1997, 380 women living in Philadelphia
were recruited and they have been followed for more
than eight years. The women reported their physical
activity level and menopausal symptoms including
stress, anxiety, depression and hot flashes.
The average age at the beginning of the study was
42 years old; 49 percent were African American,
58 percent reported more than a high school education,
and 38 percent smoked cigarettes.
“We recruited African-American and Caucasian women
living in Philadelphia for this study to better
represent the large population of urban women. These
results can be generalizable to both urban Caucasian
and African-American women, groups of women that have
been under-represented in previous studies,” Nelson
In the category of stress, researchers found that
high levels of physical activity were the most
beneficial to postmenopausal women and African-
American women. They reported lower levels of
perceived stress than those who did not exercise.
This top-tier group walked at a moderate pace
(4 miles per hour) for an hour and a half at least
five times a week.
While the study found mental benefits of exercise,
it did not show that exercise reduced physical
symptoms such as hot flashes.
According to Dr. Robert O. Young, a research
scientist at the pH Miracle Living Center stated,
“the symptoms of menopause, including hot flashes
are significantly reduced when a woman follows
an alkaline lifestyle and diet, including an
exercise program that incorporates whole body
“Physical symptoms like hot flashes will go away
when you reach menopause, but mental health is
something women still need to think about post-
menopause,” Nelson said.
“When women start feeling better from an alkaline
lifestyle and diet they start thinking better and
with better mental health they start doing better,”
states Dr. Young.
The middle tier walked five times a week for 40
minutes. The bottom group — considered the non-
exercisers — walked for 15 minutes about five
times a week.
By design, all of the women were pre-menopausal
at baseline. Eight years after enrollment, 20
percent of the women were menopausal with an
additional 18 percent classified in the late
“In the urban setting, these women walked outside
on city blocks or in shopping malls. Groups could
organize to take walks after dinner. It didn’t
require going to the gym,” Nelson said. “You don’t
have to run 20 miles a week to reap the benefits
of exercise. If you stick to a moderate-paced walking
schedule, it can keep your body mass index down and
lower the risk of stress, anxiety and depression,”
“To maximize time and increase the effectiveness of
the workout there is nothing better then whole
body vibrational exercise. Five minutes on a whole
body vibrational exercise machine is equal to a 60
minutes of intense exercise,” states Dr. Young.
To learn more about whole body vibrational exercise