Study considers effects of exercise on brain health during menstruation
LONDON, Ont. -- A first-of-its-kind study out of Western University is looking at the effects a woman’s menstrual cycle could have on cognitive health.
It’s no secret that exercising has a list of health benefits says Western pProfessor Dr. Matthew Heath.
“Exercise is not only important for cardiovascular and metabolic health, that’s all well known, but it’s also important for maintaining brain health.”
Heath and his team have conducted numerous studies looking at the benefits exercise may have on brain health but this time have added a new twist to that theory.
The team decided to study women’s cognitive function when exercising during their menstrual cycle.
“We had women exercise in their early- and mid-phases of their menstrual cycle and we evaluated whether or not there was any difference in the brain health benefit they derived post exercise.”
Glen Belfry, an associate professor at Western, says 15 women took part in the study.
“Basically they would get a test one day to get a sense of their fitness level, which enabled us to know the intensity they would work at for the 20 minutes before the executive function tests.”
Current medical theories say a woman’s hormones could potentially change cognitive function during menstruation, but Heath and his team concluded that’s not the case.
“There isn’t any good evidence to suggest that women’s brains are any different than men’s brains on an executive level dependent on the stage of the menstrual cycle they are experiencing.”
The ultimate conclusion is that regardless of being male or female, high hormonal levels or not, exercise is beneficial to everyone.