Resistance training can relieve menopause discomfort

Resistance training two to three times a week can reduce hot flushes and night sweats in post-menopausal women, according to a Linköping University study. This is the first study ever to investigate the relationship between resistance training and menopause discomfort.

Working on shoulders in this age is important for women Photo credit gpointstudioSome previous research has shown certain relationships between general exercise and a reduction in hot flushes. However other studies have not been able to show a clear relationship.
One explanation of the differing results could be that the intensity of the training varied.

Emilia Berin, Instituionen för klinisk och experimentell medicin, 2019Emilia Berin.
Photo: Eva Bergstedt
“It’s probably the case that in order to counteract menopause discomfort, the exercise must include considerable exertion with a noticeably increased pulse, quicker breathing and sweating. Our theory is that strenuous training can affect the endorphins in the central nervous system, which is also where the body’s temperature control system is located”, says Emilia Berin, doctoral student in obstetrics and gynaecology at the Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine.
She is the principal author of the article, published in the scientific journal Maturitas.

Resistance training is easy to standardise; the same actions are repeated, and results can easily be measured and compared.

“That’s why we wanted to continue, to study whether resistance training has any effect.”

58 post-menopausal women, with an average age of 55, took part in the study. Half of them lived their lives as usual, with irregular and more or less demanding physical activity. The other half began resistance training three times a week, 45 minutes per session, for 15 weeks. The resistance training was at a level that involved considerable exertion.

The results showed that those who started resistance training reduced their hot flushes by 44 per cent on average, while the others had the same amount of discomfort as before.

“So, one conclusion is that strenuous resistance training two to three times a week can eliminate close to half of all hot flushes and night sweats. This should be seen as a good result. Hormone tablets such as oestrogen get rid of close to 90 per cent of the discomfort, but everyone can’t use hormone treatment, for instance women with breast cancer or men with prostate cancer – who can also suffer from hot flushes while on medication”, says Emilia Berin.

Emilia is now investigating how the quality of life of the 58 women in the study is affected.

“That analysis isn’t complete, but preliminary results show that resistance training appears to affect quality of life in general, as regards both physical and mental health.”

Translated by Martin Mirko.

Article: Resistance training for hot flushes in postmenopausal women: A randomised controlled trial

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