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Menopause Corner
Menopause Corner

Wendy Hoffman blogs about menopause and women's health—particularly focusing on how diet and nutrition can positively affect a woman's life around the age of menopause.

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More Proof That Exercise Can Dial Back Menopause Symptoms

A recent study that explored whether exercise can help alleviate menopause symptoms has shown that aerobic training in particular can reduce the frequency or severity of common symptoms such as night sweats, mood swings, and depression. This is certainly good news for women who cannot use hormone therapy or who prefer a more natural approach to coping with symptoms.

The six-month study, whose findings were published just a few days ago in the June issue of Menopause, The Journal of the North American Menopause Society, involved 151 women, with an average age of 53, who had exercised less than twice a week when they were recruited. They complained mostly of hot flashes, irritability, depression and mood swings and none were on hormone therapy.

Half of the women were assigned to a control group and the remaining women were assigned to an exercise regimen with the following “dose” of activity: aerobic training four times per week with 50 minutes of exercise at a time, at 64 to 80 percent of maximal heart rate. At least two sessions had to include walking and the other two could include walking, jogging, swimming or other gymnastic exercise. Information on their menopausal symptoms was collected using mobile phone questionnaires twice a day.

The results shouldn’t surprise you because we’ve learned that exercise seems to cure a lot of ills (see my earlier blogpost on “The Miracle Treatment”). Besides the fact that at the end of the study, the women who exercised had much higher fitness levels compared to those in the control group, the prevalence of all of their menopausal symptoms  - except vaginal dryness -  decreased.  This was especially true for night sweats, mood swings and irritability which showed the most significant improvement for these women.

This isn’t the only clinical trial to have reached the same conclusion about the benefits of exercise for controlling menopause symptoms. The authors note that a separate 24-week study found that three and six month exercise programs led to “significant reductions in somatic, psychological and urogenital symptoms and complaints among postmenopausal women.” 

They added that even lighter physical exercise like yoga alleviated hot flashes in another randomized clinical study.

If you’re experiencing typical menopausal symptoms, exercise will help you too whether or not you’re on hormone therapy. The increase in activity will also help you sleep better and that can cure your brain fog, reduce weight, get rid of belly fat, improve your memory, make you less irritable and easier to get a long with and...the list goes on.

Wendy Hoffman writes about women’s health at www.menopausetheblog.com.

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About the Author

Wendy writes about women's health in midlife.