A new study finds that mid-life women who have upper and lower body strength are at more risk of developing depression and anxiety. Especially women with weak handgrip strength and those needing a longer time to stand from a chair were found to be more prone to develop higher depression or anxiety symptoms. The study was published in the journal Menopause and was conducted by Eu-Leong Yong and his team at the National University of Singapore.
Senior author Yong explained that mid-life women are stuck between children, old parents, husband, and work. They sacrifice themselves, and many times, they overlook their own needs, so depression and anxiety symptoms may not even be recognized.
Women Who Are Not Fit Are More Prone to Develop Depression and Anxiety
The researchers observed over 1,100 women, aged 45 to 69, who had regular gynecology appointments at the National University Hospital in Singapore. The team measured upper body strength, more precisely their handgrip force, by asking the women to squeeze a hand-held dynamometer as hard as they could.
Their lower body physical performance was measured via pace speed, standing balance, and a chair stand test, recording the time it requires to stand up from a seated position five times with no use of arms.
The team utilized questionnaires accepted internationally to analyze if and how often women had symptoms linked to anxiety and depression during the prior week, which included sadness, loss of interest, unmanageable concerning, fatigue, sleep issues, and poor appetite.
Depression and Anxiety Are Common Among Mid-Life Women
In general, approximately 16 percent (180 women) had symptoms of anxiety or depression, with women aged 45 to 54 being more prone to report the manifestations. Symptoms were not associated with menopause, sociodemographic features, or lifestyle factors such as smoking or alcohol intake.
Yong explained that the study shows a powerful correlation between the body and mind, denoting that physical strength is linked at close range with mental health.
In spite of living busy lives, mid-life women should focus on muscle strengthening and resistance exercises, Yong and his colleagues noted in the published study.