Though the women in the study were overweight or obese, sedentary and postmenopausal, they were fairly healthy and reported a fairly high quality of life at baseline.
"At baseline the average vitality and role emotional scores for these women were lower than for the U.S. population," Thompson said. "At follow-up, the average vitality and role emotional scores were higher than the average U.S. population."
The data showed a positive association between six months of exercise and changes in quality of life. "This association was strongest among the group who received the highest dose of exercise, which was 150 percent of the National Institute of Health's Consensus Development recommended physical activity dose," Thompson said. "Some of the women did lose weight over the course of the study but the self-reported improvement in quality of life was not dependent on weight loss."
Many of the women grew up when females didn't participate in sports and most had never been physically active before. The research program included a team to teach the women how to exercise.
"Walking a little bit every day will help tremendously," Thompson said. "Walk with your mother, a neighbor or friend. A little physical activity will improve your quality of life."
Researchers also advised older women to join gyms that have specific sections for women or that are targeted at women.
"Physical activity not only provides a better quality of life but better balance, stronger bones and confidence in walking," Church said. "Start exercising for small amounts of time and then gradually work up to 150 minutes a week. A little is better than nothing."
Church and Thompson's co-author is Steven N. Blair, P.E.D.
The National Institutes of Health funded the study.
Statements and conclusions of abstract authors that are presented at
American Heart Association/American Stroke Association scientific meetings
|SOURCE American Heart Association|
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