Post Menopause: Exercise Reduced Blood Pressure, Atherosclerosis Marker Interview with:
Michael Nyberg Ph.D.
Post-doc  Human Physiology and Exercise Physiology
Integrated Physiology Group
Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports,
Faculty of Science, University of Copenhagen and

Jens Bangsbo, Dr. Sci., Ph.D.
Professor of Human Physiology and Exercise Physiology
Head of Integrated Physiology Group, Section of Human Physiology
Head of Copenhagen Centre of Team Sports and Health
Deputy Head of Department, research
Copenhagen Denmark What are the main findings of the study?

Answer: The main findings of the study were that despite being of similar age, the postmenopausal displayed higher blood pressure and higher blood levels of an early marker of atherosclerosis than women that had not reached menopause. Furthermore, just 12 weeks of floorball training twice a week for one hour improved the women’s conditions and reduced their blood pressure significantly. In addition, there was positive development in levels of substances vital to blood vessel function, including a decrease in the early marker of atherosclerosis. Were any of the findings unexpected?

Answer: Estrogen is known to be important for the health of the cardiovascular system. It is was, however, surprising, that we in such an early phase after menopause found the significant differences in blood pressure and marker of atherosclerosis. Physical activity is known to have positive effects on the cardiovascular system. However, to what extent, and the volume and intensity of training needed, to reverse the unwanted changes in the cardiovascular systems associated with menopause were still to be investigated. The finding that only 2 weekly 60-min training sessions for 12 weeks were so efficient in improving cardiovascular health was unexpected, but is likely to reflect the high heart rates during the floorball training and that the training includes periods with very high intensity, which is known to be a potent stimulus for the heart and blood vessels to produce a large number of substances important for cardiovascular health. What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Answer: The intermittent training as conducted during floorball is certainly beneficial for post-menopausal women and a better alternative to hormone replacement in regards to improving cardiovascular health. The training  is a time-conserving approach to improve the health of the heart and blood vessels, and it should be mentioned that the subjects had fun when playing floorball also creating  close social interaction making them insisting on continuing playing together. Showing that floorball is an attractive activity having the potential to keep the women active. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Answer: Future studies should aim at identifying the biological systems responsible for the observed changes in the function and health of the cardiovascular system following menopause and which mechanisms are causing the improvements with exercise training.

Biomarkers of vascular function in pre- and recent post-menopausal women
of similar age: effect of exercise training.

Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2014 Jan 29. [Epub ahead of print]

Nyberg M1, Seidelin K, Rostgaard Andersen T, Neumann Overby N, Hellsten Y, Bangsbo J.