Physical exercise, work ability and quality of life in middle-aged women

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Arvo building, auditorium F114, address: Lääkärinkatu 1

Reetta Rutanen

Doctoral defence of M.Sc. Reetta Rutanen

Physical Exercise, Work Ability and Quality of Life in Middle-aged Women: short- and long-term effects of a randomized controlled intervention

The field of science of the dissertation is Occupational Health.

The opponent is professor Ari Heinonen (University of Jyväskylä). Professor Clas-Håkan Nygård acts as the custos.

The language of the dissertation defence is Finnish.

Physical Exercise, Work Ability and Quality of Life in Middle-Aged Women

Physical capacity and work ability decline with age, thereby increasing physical and mental strain at work and symptoms.  Middle-age women also experience their menopausal transition, which may affect their work ability and ability to cope with the work demands. The association between the menopause and work ability has not been well studied.

The aim of this doctoral thesis was to examine short-and long-term effects of a six-month physical exercise intervention on daily strain, work ability, menopausal symptoms and quality of life among middle-aged women. In all 176 women with menopausal symptoms participated in the study.  The women were randomly assigned to an intervention and a control group. The intervention group had a physical exercise program consisting of aerobic training four times per week.

This study demonstrates that a six-month exercise intervention had positive short- and long-term effects on physical strain, work ability, and mental resources in menopausal women. Participants’ menopausal symptoms decreased and quality of life improved in the intervention group compared to the controls. On the basis of the present results, it is concluded that aerobic exercise, reduces work strain, has positive effects on work ability and improves quality of life in middle-age.


The dissertation is published in the publication series of Acta Universitatis Tamperensis; 2280, Tampere University Press, Tampere 2017. The dissertation is also published in the e-series Acta Electronica Universitatis Tamperensis; 1782, Tampere University Press 2017.

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