Daily Exercise Helps Relieve Menopause Symptoms - Crozer-Keystone Health System - PA

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Published on August 12, 2013

Daily Exercise Helps Relieve Menopause Symptoms

Menopause might be a natural life stage that all women face in their late 40s or early 50s, but that doesn’t make it easier to accept the unpleasant physical and emotional symptoms that come along with the hormonal changes. Although treatments such as hormone replacement therapy might be recommended to treat symptoms such as hot flashes, sleep problems, night sweats, and mood changes, there’s a much more holistic alternative that can help alleviate the troubles of menopause: exercise.

In particular, regular exercise can help women sleep better; sleep is one particular function of the body negatively affected by menopause – menopausal women have been found to suffer from mood disorders, insomnia, and breathing issues such as snoring and sleep apnea. If left unaddressed, sleep problems can also lead to depression and anxiety, which only add to the list of issues faced by women going through menopause. But exercise can help solve sleep problems.

A recent study found that those who are more active during the day—whether they’re exercising or engaging in household or caregiving activities (which we know can sometimes be quite a workout!)— sleep better during the night. Women can also benefit from following good sleep habits, which include maintaining a routine sleep schedule, avoiding caffeine or nicotine late in the day, and making sure your room is set up in a way that promotes sleep.

Although the connection between sleep and exercise among menopausal women needs to be further studied, previous research has also found that regular daytime exercise can also boost a woman’s physical and mental health, and generally improve her quality of life.

During the study, researchers looked at two groups of menopausal women: one that was involved in a weekly exercise program and another that was not engaged in any type of regular exercise. What they found was this: Women who exercised regularly were less likely to suffer from severe menopause symptoms. And for the group who didn’t exercise? The number of women experiencing severe symptoms increased.

Doctors also observed that the social environment created by the exercise program eradicated any feelings of loneliness, which ultimately improved their mental health. Yes, exercise really can be that impactful!

While there are different ways to treat menopause, a simple workout regimen might be the answer to alleviating your symptoms and getting quality sleep—and you can start by working out for an hour at least three times a week. Building muscle mass to reduce bone loss and fractures is important, so try aerobic exercises such as walking, swimming, dancing, bicycling, stretching and relaxation exercises.

For more information about the Crozer-Keystone Sleep Centers, visit http://sleepcenters.crozerkeystone.org or call 1-888-SLEEP-03 (1-888-753-3703). Crozer-Keystone offers a multidisciplinary approach to the identification and treatment of all types of adult and pediatric sleep disorders.

For a referral to a CKHS gynecologist who can help you manage menopause symptoms, call 1-800-CK-HEALTH (1-800-254-3258) or visit www.crozerkeystone.org.

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