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Menopausal Status, Moderate-Intensity Walking, And Symptoms In Midlife Women

JoEllen Wilbur, Arlene Michaels Miller, Judith McDevitt, Edward Wang, Josephine Miller

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The purpose of this randomized clinical trial study was to determine the effectiveness of a 24-week, home-based, moderate-intensity, walking intervention in improving symptoms (vasomotor, uro-genital/sexual, sleep, psychological, cognitive, physical) experienced by midlife women. One hundred and seventy-three Caucasian and African American women aged 45 to 65 who were not on hormone therapy, had no major signs or symptoms of cardiovascular disease, and were sedentary in their leisure activity were randomly assigned to the moderate-intensity walking group or the nonexercise control group. The exercise prescription was walking at a frequency of 4 times a week for a duration of 20 to 30 minutes. The symptom impact inventory included the frequency, intensity, and bothersomeness of 33 symptoms collected at baseline and 24 weeks. Adherence was measured with a heart rate monitor and exercise log. Average adherence to frequency of walking was 71.6% of the expected walks. After 24 weeks, there were no differences between the walking and control group on change in symptoms. However, multiple regression revealed that frequency of adherence to walking along with change in physical symptoms and menopausal status were significant predictors of change in sleep symptoms. While walking did not improve most symptoms experienced by midlife women, frequency of walking may improve sleep.