Objective: The aim of this study was to identify the effects of body composition and menopause characteristics on maximal oxygen uptake (V˙O2max) variation in postmenopausal women.
Methods: The study was conducted on 208 healthy women aged 49 to 79 years. Data related to menopause were obtained through medical history. Measurements of fat mass, visceral fat area, skeletal muscle mass (SM), fat-free mass, and basal metabolic rate were assessed by octopolar bioimpedance. SM index was calculated using the formula SM index = SM/weight, and V˙O2max was assessed through a modified Bruce protocol.
Results: Cardiorespiratory fitness was negatively associated with age, percent fat mass, visceral fat area, body fat-muscular condition, and central adiposity-muscular condition. Only time elapsed since menopause revealed a statistically significant correlation with V˙O2max. Age and time of menopause aside, body fat-muscular condition was related to the V˙O2max variation, presenting an interactive effect with basal metabolic rate. Central adiposity-muscular condition also affects V˙O2max; however, the association of all interactions, age, basal metabolic rate, and time elapsed since menopause was not significant.
Conclusions: Our data suggest an impairment of cardiorespiratory fitness with increasing age and time elapsed since menopause, but especially in the presence of increased total and central adiposity or reduced SM index. Body fat-muscular condition was significantly related to the V˙O2max variation, regardless of age and time elapsed since menopause, but not of basal metabolic rate. Central adiposity-muscular condition was a significant and independent factor of the V˙O2max exercise-related variations.