Menopause May Rob Women Of The Exercise High

 Menopause May Rob Women Of The Exercise High

As women enter menopause, their levels of physical activity decrease, but it hasn’t been understood why.

Now scientists have found a connection between lack of ovarian hormones and changes in the brain’s pleasure center—a hotspot in the brain that processes and reinforces messages related to reward, pleasure, activity, and motivation for physical exercise.

For the study, published in the journal Physiology and Behavior, researchers compared the physical activity of rats that were highly fit to rats that had lower fitness levels. They studied the rats’ use of running wheels set up in the cages before and after the rats had their ovaries removed. They also examined gene expression changes of dopamine receptors within the brain’s pleasure center.

“Postmenopausal women are more susceptible to weight gain and health issues,” says Victoria Vieira-Potter, assistant professor of nutrition and exercise physiology at the University of Missouri. “This is especially frustrating for women who already are dealing with significant changes to their bodies. We found that the decrease in physical activity that leads to weight gain may be caused by changes in brain activity.”

The high-fit rat group had more activity in the brain’s pleasure center, which correlated with greater wheel-running before and after the loss of ovarian hormones. However, the high-fit rats still saw a significant reduction in wheel running after their ovaries were removed. This reduction in wheel running also correlated significantly with a reduction in their dopamine signaling levels, indicating that the brain’s pleasure center could be involved.

“We found that in both groups of rats, the hormonal changes from menopause led to changes in the brain that translated to less physical activity,” Vieira-Potter says.

“The findings confirm previous evidence in humans and rodents that weight gain that occurs after menopause is likely due to decreased overall physical activity rather than increased energy intake from diet. Understanding what is causing the decrease in activity and subsequent weight gain may allow us to intervene, possibly by activating dopamine receptors, to preserve the motivation to be physically active.”


 Get The Latest From InnerSelf


Additional researchers from the University of Missouri and from the University of Kansas and the University of Michigan are coauthors of the study, which an MU Research Council Grant supported.

Source: University of Missouri

Related Books

{amazonWS:searchindex=Books;keywords=menopause;maxresults=3}

enafarzh-CNzh-TWnltlfifrdehiiditjakomsnofaptruessvtrvi

follow InnerSelf on

facebook-icontwitter-iconrss-icon

 Get The Latest By Email

{emailcloak=off}

FROM THE EDITORS

The Day Of Reckoning Has Come For The GOP
by Robert Jennings, InnerSelf.com
The Republican party is no longer a pro-America political party. It is an illegitimate pseudo-political party full of radicals and reactionaries whose stated goal is to disrupt, destabilize, and…
Why Donald Trump Could Be History's Biggest Loser
by Robert Jennings, InnerSelf.com
Updated July 2, 20020 - This whole coronavirus pandemic is costing a fortune, maybe 2 or 3 or 4 fortunes, all of unknown size. Oh yeah, and, hundreds of thousands, maybe a million, of people will die…
Blue-Eyes vs Brown Eyes: How Racism is Taught
by Marie T. Russell, InnerSelf
In this 1992 Oprah Show episode, award-winning anti-racism activist and educator Jane Elliott taught the audience a tough lesson about racism by demonstrating just how easy it is to learn prejudice.
A Change Is Gonna Come...
by Marie T. Russell, InnerSelf
(May 30, 2020) As I watch the news on the events in Philadephia and other cities in the country, my heart aches for what is transpiring. I know that this is part of the greater change that is taking…
A Song Can Uplift the Heart and Soul
by Marie T. Russell, InnerSelf
I have several ways that I use to clear the darkness from my mind when I find it has crept in. One is gardening, or spending time in nature. The other is silence. Another way is reading. And one that…