Exercise and Menopause – Does It Help?


I got all excited this week when I read that a recent study suggested exercise might ease menopause symptoms, until it was revealed that the women who participated in the study (164 sedentary or low-active menopausal women), more than likely perceived relief only in their minds.

There are a bouillabaisse of symptoms associated with perimenopause and menopause, could walking and/or yoga really do the trick?

The Menopause Stew:
• Hot flashes
• Night sweats
• Sleep disorders such as insomnia, difficulty falling asleep, waking up frequently, or restless sleep
• Mood swings, irritability, depression, anxiety, or nervousness
• Decreased libido, vaginal dryness and atrophy
• Menstrual changes, including heavier periods, uterine fibroids, spotting between periods, or skipped cycles, as well as worsening PMS (premenstrual syndrome) or PMDD (premenstrual dysphoric disorder)
• Fuzzy thinking, decreased or impaired memory and attention
• Weight gain, food cravings, increased insulin resistance, difficulty controlling blood sugar
• Digestive problems, such as irritable bowel, bloating, or acid reflux
• Cardiac complaints, such as heart arrhythmia, chest pain, or palpitations
• Joint and muscle symptoms, including inflammation, stiffness or pain
• Dizziness, decreased balance, headaches or menstrual migraines
• Breast tenderness, breast cysts, or nipple discharge
• Hair loss, unwanted facial hair growth, dry eyes, skin or hair, midlife acne
• Pelvic or urinary complaints, including incontinence, urinary tract infections (UTI’s), pelvic prolapse, cystocele, rectocele
• Increased allergies and sensitivities, hives

(I’m actually surprised that substance abuse didn’t make the list, because just reading that makes me want to pour a very large martini and drink it while I’m making another).

What the study revealed was, the good feelings one normally achieves through exercise, were interpreted by the women participating in the study as a decrease in their symptoms. Not true. Since the women were all fairly sedentary it makes sense that exercise would make them feel this sense of relief.

So, I guess what we’ve got here is another example of how moving our bodies via, walking, yoga or any other exercise of your choosing, is good for you. It’s good for your mind, it’s good for body and it’s good for the soul. Hot flashes? Maybe not so much.

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