Objective: African-American women represent an understudied population in menopause research yet face greater postmenopausal challenges associated with mortality than their white peers. We investigated the effects of a mild-intensity aerobic exercise training program on markers of mortality risk in both premenopausal and postmenopausal African-American women.
Methods: Sixteen premenopausal women and 19 postmenopausal women underwent 6 months of mild-intensity aerobic exercise training. Measurements included markers of blood lipid and glucose profile, inflammation, kidney function, vascular health, and aerobic fitness before and after the exercise intervention.
Results: Before the exercise intervention, the premenopausal and postmenopausal groups only differed in age, low-density lipoprotein, and total cholesterol levels, with the latter two being higher in the postmenopausal group. Both triglycerides and markers of early-stage endothelial dysfunction (CD62E+ endothelial microparticles) improved in both groups with aerobic exercise training. Aerobic fitness, glomerular filtration rate, body mass index, plasma glucose levels, and markers of late-stage endothelial dysfunction (CD31+/CD42b− endothelial microparticles) only improved in the premenopausal group.
Conclusions: Mild-intensity aerobic exercise training succeeds in improving some markers of cardiovascular disease and mortality in postmenopausal women. Higher levels of exercise intensity or perhaps additional interventions may need to be considered to further decrease mortality risk in this population.