Investigators randomly assigned 74 women (aged 45–60) to either an exercise group or a control group. All women had been in the menopausal stage for at least 1 year and had not participated in any formal exercise program or taken medication to relieve menopausal symptoms. Pilates group members performed a Pilates mat program (approximately 1 hour) three times a week for 8 weeks. Control group members lived life as usual.
Data analysis after 8 weeks showed significant improvements in lower-back strength and hamstring flexibility and a decrease in menopausal symptoms—except for those related to genitourinary syndrome of menopause (vaginal dryness and urinary problems)—among women who did Pilates compared with nonexercisers. Since the 8-week program had positive effects for participants, the study authors recommended that ongoing participation in Pilates exercise may enhance health and the ability to live independently after menopause.
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