Hot flashes are a common and often disruptive symptom associated with menopause. Does exercise help? Find out what the most recent studies show.
Menopause brings new opportunities, but it also brings challenges – like hot flashes. Hot flashes with menopause, also known as vasomotor symptoms, can be a major source of discomfort for some women – interfering with their lifestyle and even making it difficult to sleep. More women are looking for natural ways to relieve the hot flashes of menopause to avoid taking hormone replacement therapy. One treatment for hot flashes that some women use is exercise. Does exercise really help with the vasomotor symptoms of menopause?
Exercise and Hot Flashes: Does Exercise Help?
When it comes to exercise and hot flashes, studies are mixed. In an article published in Sexuality, Reproduction, and Menopause twenty-seven different studies were reviewed. Some showed benefits, while others didn’t. A few studies even showed that women who exercise have more hot flashes than those who don’t. From the limited number of studies that have been done, it’s hard to draw any definite conclusions.
Why Exercise Still May Be Effective for Relieving Hot Flashes
Despite the fact that studies haven’t confirmed that exercise relieves vasomotor symptoms, there are still some pretty compelling reasons to work out it if you’re going through menopause. One is the effect that exercise has on body weight. Women who are overweight or obese usually have more severe vasomotor symptoms than women who are thinner. Exercise helps to reduce body weight which may indirectly relieve hot flashes.
There’s another good reason why women with hot flashes should exercise. Exercise has a positive effect on mood and helps to improve sleep. Insomnia is a common problem for women undergoing the menopausal transition. It also gives a greater sense of well being and may be particularly effective for women who are experiencing depression during menopause.
Finally, after menopause a woman’s risk of heart disease goes up and exercise can help to offset that risk. It may also help to reduce the risk of other health problems associated with aging such as Alzheimer’s disease, type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancer. Exercise is more important than ever after menopause.
Exercise and Hot Flashes: Should You Do It to Relieve Vasomotor Symptoms?
Whether or not exercise relieves hot flashes is still not known, but it may help vasomotor symptoms indirectly by helping with weight loss and improving mood. Don’t miss out on these great benefits!
Sexuality, Reproduction, and Menopause. May 2010. pages 6-8.