HealthDay News — Weak physical performance on tests of the upper and lower body is associated with depressive and anxiety symptoms in midlife women, according to a study published online June 3 in Menopause.

Shamini Ganasarajah, from the National University of Singapore, and colleagues analyzed correlates of depression and anxiety in 1,159 healthy Asian women (aged 45 to 69 years) with a special focus on the potential role of objectively measured physical performance. Sociodemographic characteristics, reproductive health, menopause status, medical history, lifestyle choices, physical activity, and physical performance were assessed during routine gynecologic care.

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The researchers found that 15.9 percent of women had depressive and/or anxiety symptoms. Weak upper-body strength, measured with handgrip strength, and poor lower-body strength, defined as longer duration to complete the repeated chair stand test, were associated with elevated depressive or anxiety symptoms (adjusted odds ratios, 1.68 and 1.33, respectively).

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“Future trials are required to determine whether strengthening exercises that improve physical performance could help reduce depressive and anxiety symptoms in midlife women,” the authors write.

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