The amount of physical exercise a woman undertakes is not linked to risk of early menopause, according to the largest study ever to investigate this question.
Until now, there have been conflicting findings about the association between exercise and menopause, with some studies suggesting that women who are very physically active may be at lower risk of early menopause (age
This study, published in Human Reproduction, analysed data from 107,275 women who were followed-up prospectively from 1989 to 2011. It found no association between physical activity at any age and early natural menopause.
Of the full cohort, 2,786 women experienced early menopause. After adjustment for age, smoking and other factors, no association was observed between physical activity in adulthood and early menopause, even for women reporting the equivalent of four or more hours of running or eight or more hours of brisk walking per week, compared to inactive women.
Neither moderate nor strenuous activity in adolescence and young adulthood were related to risk. The relationship between physical activity and early menopause did not vary across groups of body mass index (BMI) or smoking status.