Attending a dance class three times weekly can not only help reduce menopause complications but also improve self-image and self-esteem in postmenopausal women, says a new study.

Menopause marks the end of a woman’s menstrual cycles or her reproductive years. But the loss of estrogen linked with menopause and other changes their body experience as women age may raise their risk for certain health problems such as heart disease, stroke, and osteoporosis. Often, women struggle with managing their weight and high cholesterol once they transition through menopause. A new study suggests that dancing can benefit postmenopausal women in lowering cholesterol levels, improving fitness and body composition, and thus improve self-esteem.

The study was recently published online in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS).

Menopause Complications

The authors noted that postmenopausal women are more likely to experience weight gain, overall/central body adiposity increases, and metabolic disturbances, such as increases in triglycerides and bad cholesterol together these changes lead to increased cardiovascular risk. After menopause, women often become less physically active, which leads to reductions in lean mass and higher risk of falls and fractures. Due to these health issues, postmenopausal women often struggle with decreased self-image and self-esteem, which directly affect their overall mental health.

Studies have suggested that physical activity can minimize some of the many health problems associated with menopause. Dance therapy is seen as an attractive option as it is fun and is associated with lower risk of injury, and costs. However, there is limited data on the overall effects of dance on body image, self-esteem, and physical fitness in postmenopausal women.

So, the new study was designed to analyze the effects of dance practice on body composition, metabolic profile, functional fitness, and self-image/self-esteem in women after menopause.

Also read: Three foods to include in your diet to help lower cholesterol levels

A dance class three times weekly can offer these benefits

Postmenopausal women who took up three-times-weekly dance regimen experienced some credible benefits. According to the study, not only their lipid profile and functional fitness improved, but also their self-image and self-esteem. Regular dancing also led to improvement in balance, postural control, gait, strength, and overall physical performance.

“This study highlights the feasibility of a simple intervention, such as a dance class three times weekly, for improving not only fitness and metabolic profile but also self-image and self-esteem in postmenopausal women. In addition to these benefits, women also probably enjoyed a sense of comradery from the shared experience of learning something new,” said Dr. Stephanie Faubion, NAMS medical director, as quoted by Science Daily.

First signs of menopause

Usually, menopause happens after the age of 40, but some women can go through menopause early as a result of medical or surgical treatment. It’s called premature menopause. Initial signs that you’re nearing menopause include:

  • Hot flashes
  • Uneven or missed periods
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Sore breasts
  • Needing to pee more often
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Emotional changes
  • Dry skin, eyes, or mouth

These could be followed by fatigue, depression, crankiness, racing heart, headaches, joint and muscle aches and pains, weight gain, hair loss, changes in libido (sex drive).

Research has shown that physical activity could also mitigate some of the menopause symptoms. So, if you’re experiencing menopause or have just crossed that phase, dance your way to better health.

This post first appeared on The Health Site

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