Can exercise help with menopause symptoms? Science weighs in

Numerous studies have found exercise to be beneficial for menopausal symptoms like hot flushes

woman exercising in the gym
(Image credit: Getty)

The side effects of menopause include everything from hot flashes and sleeping problems to low mood and anxiety. Numerous studies have shown that one lifestyle factor can help with all these symptoms: exercise.

You may have already considered the best menopause supplements but research published in the journal Menopause looked at the menopause symptoms and physical activity levels of more than 6,000 Latin American women aged 40 to 59. The researchers asked about menopause symptoms, including hot flashes, irritability, insomnia, and depression, and how many times a week the women had recently engaged in at least 30 minutes of physical activity.

The researchers found that women who were sedentary (exercised fewer than three times a week) were 28% more likely to report severe menopause symptoms than those who exercised more. Sedentary women were 21% more likely to experience hot flashes. They were also 17% more likely to feel sad or depressed.

According to another study in the journal Maturitas, lifting weights and other resistance training could have a significant impact on hot flashes.

Menopausal women with at least four moderate or severe hot flushes or night sweats per day were randomized to a 15-week resistance training intervention or a non-workout control group. Hot flashes and night sweats were almost halved among the exercising women compared to no change in the control group.

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How does exercise help with menopause symptoms?

Exercise during and after menopause offers many benefits, including preventing weight gain and strengthening your bones. Loss of bone density after menopause is common and can increase the risk of fractures and osteoporosis.

The North American Menopause Society recommends exercising for 45 to 60 minutes three times a week to maintain bone strength. This should be a combination of weight-bearing exercises like brisk walking or jogging, strength training with resistance bands or weights, and balance work like yoga or tai chi.

Regular exercise at any stage of life can help you maintain a healthy weight, relieve stress, and improve your quality of life. If you are going through menopause, both cardio and strength training could help ease menopause symptoms.

Catherine Renton

Catherine is a freelance journalist writing across titles such as Verywell Health, Healthline, The Daily Telegraph, Refinery29, Elle, and Vogue. She specializes in content covering health, fitness, wellness, and culture.
A once reluctant runner, Catherine has competed in 30 running events in the past five years and looks forward to one day running the London Marathon.