To Your Health
August, 2016 (Vol. 10, Issue 08)
Women's Health: Another Reason to Exercise (Vigorously)
By Editorial Staff
If you think consistent exercise is only good for reducing your risk of developing obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and myriad other health issues, listen up: For women, particularly middle-aged women who experience frustrating hot flashes during menopause, exercise may reduce those symptoms as well.
A pair of studies examined the relationship between exercise and hot flashes suggest vigorous exercise can help menopausal women better manage their hot flashes. Women who exercised had a better ability to regulate their body heat (and thus reduce the intensity of their hot flashes), while also reducing their frequency by more than 60 percent compared to non-exercisers).
Women enrolled in the four-month research endeavor performed progressively more vigorous exercise, such that by the end of the four-month period, they were jogging / bicycling for 45 minutes a day, five times a week, at a pace that guaranteed they would breathe heavily and sweat.
So, why the connection between body heat and hot flashes? Simple: Skin temperature is a common trigger of hot flashes (thus the moniker). During menopause, declining estrogen levels can inhibit a woman's ability to regulate internal and external temperatures, leading to a sudden feeling of warmth, perspiration, rapid heartbeat, flushed skin and other unpleasant symptoms.
If you're experiencing hot flashes, talk to your doctor about the power of exercise and ask about other natural treatment options that don't rely on hormone replacement therapy, antidepressants or other medications (all of which come with potential side effects).