The research, conducted in Passo Fundo, Brazil, included a total of 292 premenopausal, perimenopausal and postmenopausal women with an average age of 57. The women were given pedometers to measure the number of steps they took every day. The participants underwent health screenings, including cholesterol and blood sugar measurements; a waist-to-hip ratio was also noted to see if they had abdominal obesity, which is a known risk for metabolic syndrome.
Physical activity, in any form, is important to reduce the risk of heart disease and metabolic syndrome which can result in type 2 diabetes, the authors of the study said. According to the researchers, just moving around, including structured exercise or household activity, is enough to help women improve their health.
The study showed that taking 6,000 or more steps a day reduced the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes in middle-aged women, regardless of their menopause status, the study concluded. In addition, there was a reduction in the likelihood of being obese for women walking 6,000 or more steps daily.
The study showed the exact amount of activity women need to cut the risk of heart disease, diabetes and reduce weight gain. It found that structured exercise is not necessary for women to remain healthy after menopause, which is what women with busy lifestyles in particular worry about. They just need to use a pedometer and try to stay active.