Exercise keeps hot flushes at bay in menopausal women
Beneficial effect lasted for 24 hours after a workoutdigg]
11:30 GMT, 28 June 2012
Women who dread the mood swings and muscle aches that come with the change will be relieved to hear they can at least alleviate hot flushes.
Scientists found there was a marked decline in how often menopausal women experienced the uncomfortable symptom after a workout.
The team from Penn State university said the effect lasted for up to 24 hours after exercise.
Hot flushes are the most common symptom of the menopause, with episodes lasting from three to six minutes
Hot flushes are the most common symptom of the menopause with episodes lasting from three to six minutes.
While they are not fully understood the nervous system is known to become erratic during the menopause. This triggers the skin blood vessels to open and signals the sweat glands to become active at any time.
The researchers studied 92 menopausal women over 15 days for the study. The participants were 40 to 59 years old, with
an average of two children and were not on hormone therapy.
Each woman recorded each time she felt she had experienced a hot flash on a personal digital assistant. They also wore an accelerometer to
monitor their physical activity and another monitor that measured
skin conductance revealing spikes in skin temperature.
When a woman's own report of a hot flush came within five minutes of a digital report, it was considered a 'true positive' hot
The scientists thought that exercising would increase hot flushes as it raises the body core temperature.
However, they found women actually experienced fewer hot flushes on average after exercising.
Even women who were obese or unfit experienced a reduction in symptoms although they saw the smallest benefit.
Study leader Steriani Elavsky, said: 'For women with mild to moderate hot
flashes, there is no reason to avoid physical activity for the fear of
making symptoms worse.
'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.'
While previous studies have studied menopausal women with severe symptoms the latest report, published in the journal Menopause, looked at women who were more representative of the general population.
Assistant Professor Elavsky, said: 'Our sample included women with mild to moderate symptoms and they were recruited for a study of physical activity, not for a study of menopause.'
It is not yet known if a woman could use diet and exercise to lose weight and become more fit and therefore experience fewer hot flushes, but it is a possibility worthy of future investigation, noted the researchers.