A study from the North American Menopause Society (NAMS), published online February 15 in the journal Menopause, has found that regular exercise can help postmenopausal women lose weight and control hot flashes.
While postmenopausal women often see this time of life, and the various physical and mental health issues it can entail (fatigue, weight gain, irritability, hot flashes), as an inevitable burden to bear, exercise could be an effective and natural solution to help ease the effects of hormonal disruption, caused by declining estrogen levels.
Researchers in the US monitored how quality of life evolved for 234 Spanish postmenopausal women, aged 45 to 64 years old, who had at least 12 months of sedentary behavior.
Participants were required to follow a five-month exercise program involving cardiovascular and other fitness-related exercises.
At the end of the study period, the women experienced short-term positive changes and improved their physical and mental health long-term, with notable improvements to cardiovascular fitness, flexibility and mood.
There was also a slight but significant reduction in participants' BMI (body mass index).
Hot flashes and their frequency can be one of the most debilitating symptoms of menopause for women, especially those who choose not to follow hormone replacement therapies. Here too, exercise was found to have a beneficial effect, with more effective management of hot flashes.
In conclusion, the researchers encourage women experiencing difficulties at this time of life to get moving, as exercise can help with weight loss while also improving general health.