Hot Flashes Can Be Triggered by Intense Exercise

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If you’re going through menopause and feel like your workouts are aggravating your symptoms, here’s some validation: A new study suggests that spikes in physical activity during the day may contribute to hot flashes.

For the study, scientists examined data on 188 middle-aged women who wore a variety of monitors to objectively measure hot flashes, physical activity, sleep, temperature, and humidity over a 24-hour period. Separately, participants also reported how many hot flashes they experienced.

Sudden increases in physical activity were associated with 31 percent higher odds of objectively measured hot flashes during the day and a 17 percent greater risk of hot flashes at night, according to study findings published in the journal Menopause.

These abrupt shifts in activity levels could involve an intense change — like sprinting during a jog — but could just as easily involve subtle shifts in activity levels, like getting up from the couch to grab a snack or tossing and turning in your bed at night, says Stephanie Faubion, MD, the director of the Mayo Clinic Center for Women’s Health and the medical director of the Menopause Society.

Benefits of Exercise During Menopause

“I would not recommend that women with hot flashes do anything different with regard to their exercise routines based on this study,” says Dr. Faubion, who wasn’t involved in the research. “Exercise is helpful for so many reasons, including known benefits on stress, mood, heart disease, and cancer risk. It is and should be considered an important component of a healthy lifestyle for all women, including midlife women and those experiencing hot flashes.”

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