Girls, please take note, strenuous exercise regularly at least thrice a week may ward off marked height loss of more than one-inch post menopause, according to researchers.
Declining estrogen levels during perimenopause and menopause can cause loss of bone mass. Postmenopause bone breakdown outpaces the building of new bone in women. Thus height loss, a common occurrence in this age group is known to increase the risk of death and disease.
“Having done strenuous exercise regularly, at least three times a week, in their teens was protective for later life height loss in our study,” said Jean Wactawski-Wende, Professor at the University of Buffalo, New York City, US.
Strenuous workouts–any activity long enough to work up a sweat and increase heart rate–would likely also result in helping increase peak bone mass in young women, Wactawski-Wende noted.
“Exercise also increases strength and balance, both of which might help to prevent spine fracture and other fractures later in life,” she added.
Other factors for height loss of one inch or more include older age, heavier weight and use of corticosteroids–known to reduce bone density.
The study, published in the journal Menopause, the team examined 1,024 women with an average age 66, and measured participants’ height at baseline and again five years later.
The average height loss among the more than 1,000 women studied was fourth-tenths of an inch during an average five-year follow-up. The 70 women who experienced height loss of more than an inch were older in age, weighed more at baseline and had a higher intake of corticosteroids.
“The factors identified in this study are easy to obtain and could be used by clinicians to identify women at most risk of height loss,” Wactawski-Wende said.