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Oral estrogen therapy may mitigate the effects of aerobic training on cardiorespiratory fitness in postmenopausal women: a double-blind, randomized clinical pilot study

Cardoso, Crivaldo Gomes Jr PhD1,2; Medina, Fábio Leandro MD1; Pinto, Luiz Gustavo MD1; Oneda, Bruna PhD1; Costa, Luiz Augusto Riani BS1; Labes, Eliana BS3; Abrahão, Sandra Baliero PhD4; Tinucci, Taís PhD1; Mion, Décio Jr PhD4; Fonseca, Angela Maggio PhD3; de Moraes Forjaz, Cláudia Luica PhD1

doi: 10.1097/GME.0b013e31829e4a35
Original Articles

Objective The aim of this study was to evaluate the isolated and associated effects of oral estrogen therapy and aerobic training on cardiorespiratory fitness in postmenopausal women.

Methods Forty-two hysterectomized healthy postmenopausal women were randomly divided (in a double-blind manner) into four groups: placebo-control (n = 9), estrogen therapy–control (n = 12), placebo–aerobic training (PLA-AT; n = 11), and estrogen therapy–aerobic training (ET-AT; n = 10). The estrogen therapy groups received estradiol valerate (1 mg/day) and the aerobic training groups trained on a cycle ergometer three times per week at moderate intensity. Before and 6 months after the interventions, all women underwent a maximal cardiopulmonary exercise test on a cycle ergometer.

Results Regardless of hormone therapy, aerobic training increased oxygen uptake at anaerobic threshold (P = 0.001), oxygen uptake at respiratory compensation point (P = 0.043), and oxygen uptake at peak exercise (P = 0.020). The increases at respiratory compensation point and peak exercise were significantly greater in the groups receiving placebo than in the groups receiving estrogen (oxygen uptake at respiratory compensation point: PLA-AT +5.3 [2.8] vs ET-AT +3.0 [2.5] mL kg−1 min−1, P = 0.04; oxygen uptake at peak exercise: PLA-AT +5.8 [3.4] vs ET-AT +2.8 [1.4] mL kg−1 min−1, P = 0.02).

Conclusions Oral estrogen therapy may mitigate the cardiorespiratory fitness increase induced by aerobic training in hysterectomized healthy postmenopausal women.

From the 1Exercise Hemodynamic Laboratory, School of Physical Education and Sport, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil; 2Center for Sport and Physical Education, State University of Londrina, Londrina, Brazil; and 3Gynecology and Climacteric Service and 4Hypertension Unit, General Hospital, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil.

Received March 26, 2013; revised and accepted May 28, 2013.

Funding/support: This study was supported by the Foundation for Research Support of São Paulo (grants 01/14989-7 and 06/53753-2).

Financial disclosure/conflicts of interest: None reported.

Address correspondence to: Crivaldo Gomes Cardoso Jr, PhD, Campus Universitário, Rod. Celso Garcia Cid, Km 380, Cx Postal 6001, Londrina, PR CEP 86051-99, Brazil. E-mail:

© 2014 by The North American Menopause Society.