If you have been following me for long, you know how adamant I am that exercise is good for you. It may seem like I think exercise is the cure all for everything. That is probably because often exercise is the best thing you can do. So I won’t surprise you – I think that exercise helps with hot flashes, too.
You may be thinking “but every time I move I get a hot flash, how can exercise help?” I actually find that I never get a hot flash while exercising. Perhaps because I am already sweating, I don’t notice it. I credit exercise in many ways for the fact that my hot flashes have usually not been as bad as many women.
Fewer and less severe hot flashes
Generally women who exercise report fewer and less severe hot flashes. I also hear this quite often. The scientific community does not usually like to use results that are self reported, since it is not always accurate. In this case, isn’t how women feel about hot flashes the most important thing?
One study actually did measure the effects of exercise on hot flashes. In this study, women started with 30 minutes of exercise 3 times a week and increased this to 45 minutes 5 times a week. They did this for 16 weeks. The women who exercised reported fewer and less severe hot flashes but more importantly they were measured to sweat less and have less blood flow to arms and chest during induced hot flashes.
The women in the study who exercised were found to have better thermoregulation (the body’s ability to control its internal temperature). They started to sweat sooner and more heavily when they were hot. This is actually a good thing. Sweating is one of the body’s ways of regulating temperature. We should not be afraid of sweating, especially when exercising. Remember that these same women actually sweated less when having hot flashes.
Being overweight might mean increased hot flashes
Here is another way that exercise helps. Being overweight is a risk factor for more severe hot flashes. Since exercise helps with weight loss, it can also help decrease hot flashes in this way.
Get a little bit sweaty
Another way that I think exercise helps is that it gets you used to sweating. If you go through life in an air conditioned environment and rarely exert yourself you probably didn’t get hot and sweaty very often before experiencing hot flashes. So they are a big deal. On the other hand if you exercise enough to break a sweat several times a week, hot flashes might not seem so bad. This is just my personal opinion, but I think it’s valid.
If you just can’t handle the heat while exercising, then I recommend these cooling towels by Koldtec.
I hope that I have convinced you to start exercising if you haven’t already. I would love to hear about your experiences with exercise and hot flashes. Join my Facebook group to discuss this with our community.
If you are looking for help reducing hot flashes then try the Hot Flash Help program.