Exercise helps keep menopausal hot flashes at bay

Exercise may curb hot flashes among menopausal women, a new U.S. study has found.

Researchers from Penn State followed 92 menopausal women for just over two weeks. The women, aged 40 to 59, had mild to moderate symptoms, but were recruited for a physical activity study, not a study on menopause, researcher Steriani Elavsky said in a release. The women were also not on any form of hormone therapy.

Participants wore accelerometers to monitor their physical activity and also wore monitors that measured skin conductance, which varies with the moisture level of the skin.

The women self-reported hot flashes throughout the 15-day period.


On average, the women experienced fewer hot flash symptoms within the 24 hours following exercise compared to women who didn’t work out.

But the researchers noted the women who were classified as overweight, having a lower level of fitness, or experienced more frequent or more intense hot flashes, noticed the smallest reduction in symptoms.

The researchers said more work needs to be done to see if diet and exercise can help women through menopause.

“For women with mild to moderate hot flashes, there is no reason to avoid physical activity for the fear of making symptoms worse,” Elavsky said. “In fact, physical activity may be helpful, and is certainly the best way to maximize health as women age. Becoming and staying active on a regular basis as part of your lifestyle is the best way to ensure healthy aging and well being, regardless of whether you experience hot flashes or not.”

The study appears in the current issue of the journal Menopause.

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