A new study shows that walking on a treadmill on a consistent basis can reduce period pain and improve long-term quality of life.
For the study, women between the ages of 18 and 43 were asked to take part in a supervised aerobic training regime three times a week for four weeks, beginning the day after the end of their menstrual period, followed by unsupervised home exercise for six months. Their results were compared with a control group, who carried out their usual regimes.
The study found that the women who took part in the supervised exercise reported 6 percent less pain after four weeks and 22 percent less pain in the six months of doing the exercise on their own.
Significant benefits of exercise were reported after the seven-month reporting period for other study measures, including higher quality of life and improved daily functioning, researchers reported. However, the participants did not report any increase in sleep quality following the trial.
“Women who have painful periods often take steps to actively avoid exercise,” said Dr. Leica Claydon-Mueller, a Senior Lecturer at Anglia Ruskin University in the UK. “After all when you are in pain it is often the last thing that you want to partake in.
“However, this trial demonstrated that exercise significantly reduced pain for those people taking part in the program, and they also reported reduced pain levels after four and seven months,” she continued.
“The improvements in quality of life scores after seven months were noteworthy, although it was perhaps surprising that there was no significant difference in sleep quality to that of the control group,” added Dr. Priya Kannan of Hong Kong Polytechnic University. “These multiple benefits might be considered a ‘package deal’ by women. The evidence supporting the use of aerobic exercise for managing pain, improving quality of life, and improving daily functioning has been strengthened by the findings from this research.”
The study was published in the journal Contemporary Clinical Trials.
Source: Anglia Ruskin University