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Exercise Won't Ease Hot Flashes, Study Finds

But it did help a little with insomnia, depression, researchers report

THURSDAY, Aug. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Easing hot flashes is not among the many benefits that exercise offers women, a new study indicates.

The researchers looked at 248 women who were either approaching menopause or were postmenopausal. They were divided into two groups; 106 of them took part in aerobic exercise training three times a week for 12 weeks while the remainder did their usual activities.

All of the women kept daily diaries on their hot flashes, night sweats, sleep quality, insomnia, and symptoms of depression and anxiety.

The exercise program had small positive effects on sleep quality, insomnia and depression, but had no significant effect on hot flashes, the investigators found. White women in the exercise program did show some improvement in hot flashes compared to white women who did their usual activities, but this difference was not seen in black women.

The researchers also found that women in the exercise group who were more fit to begin with had greater improvement in their hot flashes, according to the study published online July 31 in the journal Menopause.

"Midlife women cannot expect exercise to relieve [hot flashes and night sweats] but may reasonably expect it to improve how they feel and their overall health," study author Barbara Sternfeld, of the Kaiser Permanente Northern California Division of Research, and colleagues wrote.

The findings support another recent study that concluded there is no evidence that exercise reduces menopause-related hot flashes and night sweats, according to a news release from the North American Menopause Society.

More information

The U.S. Office on Women's Health has more about menopause.


SOURCE: North American Menopause Society, news release, July 31, 2013

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