Postmenopausal women may be able to ease hot flashes and night sweats by strength training, a new clinical trial from Linkoping University in Sweden shows.
Hormone therapy is the most effective treatment for hot flashes and night sweats, which affect most women during menopause. Some studies suggest that exercise may help quell hot flashes as well, but others have found no effect.
About the study
For the study, the researchers randomly assigned 58 women experiencing at least four moderate-to-severe hot flashes or night sweats daily to 15 weeks of resistance training or to a control group whose members did not change their physical activity. None of the study participants exercised regularly before the trial and none had used hormone therapy in the prior two months.
The workout group’s regimen included three weekly 45-minute sessions, with six exercises on resistance machines and two using body weight. Women worked out with lighter weights for the first three weeks, then with progressively heavier loads.
The exercise group averaged 7.5 hot flashes or night sweats a day at the beginning of the study, and after 15 weeks were having an average of 4.4 episodes a day. There was virtually no change in the control group participants, who went from 6.6 to 6.5 hot flashes daily.
Menopausal women (or anyone) interested in starting resistance training should begin with lighter loads in the first week to avoid injury. Get instruction so that you’re doing it right, and then don’t be afraid to push yourself and increase the load.
While exercise has shown mixed results for reducing hot flashes in symptomatic menopausal women, this new study of 15 weeks of resistance training showed a decrease in the frequency and severity of moderate and severe hot flashes among postmenopausal women.
Exercise has many other well-known benefits for postmenopausal women, including decreased incidence of heart disease, bone loss and cancer.
Source: Maturitas, online May 14, 2019.
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