Postmenopausal women who play team sport improve their cardiovascular health

Author(s): Jesslyn Thay , Date: 27 November 2020

A study shows that team sport lowers postmenopausal women’s blood pressure, counteracting the risk of vascular stiffening. Playing team sport also improves visceral fat deposits – fat found between internal organs – reducing them to healthier levels.

The research conducted by the Copenhagen Center for Team Sports and Health at Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports, University of Copenhagen, showed that playing floorball twice a week effectively lowered the women’s blood pressure, even those who suffered from hypertension.

Ten weeks of team floorball training reduced vascular stiffness and lead to a decrease in blood pressure by 15 (systolic) and 9 (diastolic) mmHg in the hypertensive women.

The researchers said this reduction is “significant and corresponds to a 40% lower risk of death by heart attack and a 30% reduction for coronary artery disease”.

Even the normal control group of postmenopausal women showed improvements in their cardiovascular function after playing the team sport twice a week for ten weeks, including a reduction in blood pressure.

There was also a marked reduction in visceral fat in those who played twice a week. Visceral fat is termed “dangerous fat” as it can contribute to cardiovascular diseases and cancer.

The study is centred around postmenopausal women, a group who are normally excluded from studies regarding sport and athletes, yet keeping active in this transition stage of life is very important to remaining healthy.

Oestrogen loss associated with transition into menopause increases women's risk of developing cardiovascular disease and reduces their ability to benefit from training. This Danish study proves that keeping active in a team sport has multiple benefits to overall women’s health.