Because physical exercise has been widely used for primary and secondary preventions of cardiometabolic diseases arising with menopause, the aim of our study was to determine whether participation in aerobic physical exercise is linked to the modification of spontaneous physical activity and whether this compensation affects aerobic training–related body adaptations.
Both before and after a 13-week walking training program, 34 postmenopausal women (mean ± SD age, 55.89 ± 3.57 y) were analyzed for lipids, adipokines, glucose, and insulin plasma levels, as well as for body measures, heart rate and blood pressure at rest, maximal aerobic capacity, total daily energy expenditure, mean intensity of daily physical activities, and time and energy spent on physical activities with an intensity of more than three metabolic equivalents.
Aerobic training induced significant reductions in body mass, body mass index, heart rate, systolic blood pressure, basal cardiac double product, plasma glucose, leptin, and resistin. Aerobic fitness, the reserve of the cardiac double product, and the quantitative insulin sensitivity index were significantly improved. Cluster analysis of the variations in the total daily energy expenditure, the mean intensity of daily physical activities, and the time and energy spent on physical activities with an intensity of more than three metabolic equivalents identified two subgroups: one showed reduced spontaneous physical activity (GROUP−), whereas the other did not (GROUP+). The subgroups differed significantly only for plasma lipid variation. GROUP+ showed significantly reduced low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and total cholesterol, whereas GROUP− did not show significantly modified plasma lipids.
In postmenopause, participation in a program of aerobic physical exercise can result in a reduction of spontaneous physical activity, which inhibits the positive effects of the aerobic exercise on plasma lipids and lipoproteins.