Article open access publication

Effects of high-intensity training on cardiovascular risk factors in premenopausal and postmenopausal women

American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Elsevier, ISSN 0002-9378

Volume 216, 4, 2017

DOI:10.1016/j.ajog.2016.12.017, Dimensions: pub.1017023152, PMID: 28024987,



  1. (1) University of Copenhagen, grid.5254.6, KU
  2. (2) Rigshospitalet, grid.475435.4, Capital Region






BACKGROUND: Menopause is associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease and the causal factors have been proposed to be the loss of estrogen and the subsequent alterations of the hormonal milieu. However, which factors contribute to the deterioration of cardiometabolic health in postmenopausal women is debated as the menopausal transition is also associated with increased age and fat mass. Furthermore, indications of reduced cardiometabolic adaptations to exercise in postmenopausal women add to the adverse health profile. OBJECTIVE: We sought to evaluate risk factors for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease in late premenopausal and early postmenopausal women, matched by age and body composition, and investigate the effect of high-intensity training. STUDY DESIGN: A 3-month high-intensity aerobic training intervention, involving healthy, nonobese, late premenopausal (n = 40) and early postmenopausal (n = 39) women was conducted and anthropometrics, body composition, blood pressure, lipid profile, glucose tolerance, and maximal oxygen consumption were determined at baseline and after the intervention. RESULTS: At baseline, the groups matched in anthropometrics and body composition, and only differed by 4.2 years in age (mean [95% confidence limits] 49.2 [48.5-49.9] vs 53.4 [52.4-54.4] years). Time since last menstrual period for the postmenopausal women was (mean [95% confidence limits] 3.1 [2.6-3.7] years). Hormonal levels (estrogen, follicle stimulation hormone, luteinizing hormone) confirmed menopausal status. At baseline the postmenopausal women had higher total cholesterol (P < .001), low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (P < .05), and high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (P < .001) than the premenopausal women. The training intervention reduced body weight (P < .01), waist circumference (P < .01), and improved body composition by increasing lean body mass (P < .001) and decreasing fat mass (P < .001) similarly in both groups. Moreover, training resulted in lower diastolic blood pressure (P < .05), resting heart rate (P < .001), total cholesterol (P < .01), low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (P < .01), total cholesterol/high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol index (P < .01), and improved plasma insulin concentration during the oral glucose tolerance test (P < .05) in both groups. CONCLUSION: Cardiovascular risk factors are similar in late premenopausal and early postmenopausal women, matched by age and body composition, with the exception that postmenopausal women have higher high- and low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol levels. A 3-month intervention of high-intensity aerobic training reduces risk factors for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease to a similar extent in late premenopausal and early postmenopausal women.

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2017: Unused

Research area: Medicine

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2017: Level 2

Research area: Medicine

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Times Cited: 37

Field Citation Ratio (FCR): 17.79

Relative Citation ratio (RCR): 3.94

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