The findings were presented Thursday at the American Heart Association's Conference on Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism, in Colorado Springs, Colo.
"While the women who participated in the highest exercise group saw the greatest improvements in most quality of life scales, the women in the lowest exercise group also saw improvements," study co-author Angela Thompson, a research associate at Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, La., said in a prepared statement.
"The public health message is tremendous, because it provides further support for the notion that even if someone cannot exercise an hour or more daily, getting out and exercising 10 to 30 minutes per day is beneficial, too," she said.
"Walking a little bit every day will help tremendously. Walk with your mother, a neighbor or friend. A little physical activity will improve your quality of life," Thompson said.
While some of the women did lose weight during the study, Thompson said the self-reported improvement in quality of life wasn't dependent on shedding excess pounds.
Not only does exercise improve an older woman's quality of life, it improves balance and builds stronger bones, Church noted.
"Start exercising for small amounts of time, and then gradually work up to 150 minutes a week. A little is better than nothing," he said.
The American Osteopathic Association has more about postmenopausal women and exercise.
-- Robert Preidt
SOURCE: American Heart Association, news release, March 13, 2008
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