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Effects of physical exercise on health-related quality of life and blood lipids in perimenopausal women: a randomized placebo-controlled trial

Zhang, Jing MD1; Chen, Guiping BM1; Lu, Weiwei BM2; Yan, Xiaoyan PhD3; Zhu, Sainan MS4; Dai, Yue BM2; Xi, Sisi MD1; Yao, Chen MS3,4; Bai, Wenpei MD1

doi: 10.1097/GME.0000000000000264
Original Articles

Objective This study aims to evaluate the treatment effects of physical exercise on menopausal symptoms in middle-aged female medical staff experiencing perimenopausal syndrome.

Methods A total of 157 female medical staff aged 40 to 55 years and with a Kupperman index score of 15 points or higher were randomized 1:1 into an intervention group (n = 78) or a control group (n = 79). Women in the intervention group were asked to perform aerobic physical exercise (walking with strides) three times a week or more, whereas those in the control group continued as normal. Measurements were taken at baseline and on weeks 4, 8, and 12, with total Kupperman index score, scores on individual elements of the scale, weight, and waist circumference recorded. In addition, fasting blood glucose, triglycerides, total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol were recorded at baseline and on week 12. The effects of physical exercise therapy on perimenopausal syndrome were evaluated by comparing changes in these parameters between the control group and the intervention group.

Results Fifty-four and 57 women completed all three follow-ups in the intervention and control groups, respectively. On week 12, the mean (SD) change in total Kupperman index score (−9.23 [6.23]) from baseline to week 12; the mean (SD) changes in individual scores for paresthesia (−1.08 [1.51]), insomnia (−1.00 [1.46]), irritability (−1.00 [1.34]), joint or muscle pain (−0.75 [0.74]), fatigue (−0.56 [0.75]), headache (−0.54 [0.75]), formication (−0.38 [0.66]), and sexual life (−0.62 [1.71]); and the mean (SD) changes in total cholesterol (−0.76 [0.63] mmol/L) and triglycerides (−0.20 [0.50] mmol/L) were significantly higher in the intervention group than in the control group (P < 0.05). In the intervention group, total Kupperman index score, weight, body mass index, waist circumference, triglycerides, and total cholesterol were significantly lower on week 12 compared with baseline (P < 0.05).

Conclusions Physical exercise can substantially reduce menopausal symptoms and improve blood lipid status and body weight.

From the 1Department of Gynecology, The First Hospital of Peking University, Beijing, China; 2The Union of The First Hospital of Peking University, Beijing, China; 3The Peking University Clinical Research Institute, Beijing, China; and 4Department of Medical Statistics, The First Hospital of Peking University, Beijing, China.

Received December 14, 2013; revised and accepted March 25, 2014.

Funding/support: This research was funded by the Chinese Capital Medical Development Research Foundation (project no. 2009-2020).

Financial disclosure/conflicts of interest: None reported.

Address correspondence to: Chen Yao, MS, 38 Xueyuan Street, Haidian District, Beijing, China. E-mail:

Address reprint requests to: Wenpei Bai, MD, 1 Xi’anmen Street, Western District, Beijing, China. E-mail:

© 2014 by The North American Menopause Society.