Weak Upper Body Strength in Women Associated with Depression, Anxiety

Published June 9th, 2019 - 03:27 GMT
Photo: greatist.com
Photo: greatist.com

Weak upper and lower body fitness can cause serious depression and anxiety in midlife women, a recent study suggests.

Although several studies have previously linked depression in midlife women with self-reported low physical activity, this new study evaluates objective measures of physical performance in relation to depression and anxiety in premenopausal, perimenopausal, and postmenopausal women.

Depression and anxiety are prevalent symptoms experienced by midlife women. This latest study of more than 1,100 women aged 45 to 69 years found, in fact, that 15 per cent of participants, especially those of younger age, reported depression and or anxiety.

Findings were published in the Journal of the North American Menopause Society.

Because depression can cause disability, reduced quality of life, mortality, and heart disease, researchers felt it was important to identify potentially modifiable risk factors that could reduce morbidity and mortality.

The study observed significant associations of objective physical performance measures with depression and anxiety.

Specifically, they found that weak upper body strength (handgrip strength) and poor lower body strength (longer duration to complete the repeated chair stand test) were associated with elevated depression and/or anxiety symptoms.

According to the researchers, future trials will be needed to determine whether strengthening exercises that improve physical performance might similarly help reduce depression and anxiety in midlife women.


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