Women who are relatively inactive or are overweight tend to have a risk of increased symptoms of perceived hot flashes, noted Steriani Elavsky, assistant professor of kinesiology at Penn State University.
Perceived hot flashes do not always correspond to actual hot flashes. Most previous research analysed only self-reported hot flashes. This is the first study known to the researchers to look at objective versus subjective hot flashes.
Elavsky and colleagues studied 92 menopausal women for 15 days. The women recruited for this study were different from many earlier menopause studies, said Elavsky, according to a university statement.
"Our sample included women with mild to moderate symptoms and they were recruited for a study of physical activity, not for a study of menopause," said Elavsky.
The women were 40 to 59 years old, with an average of two children and were not on hormone therapy. During analysis the researchers separated the women into normal weight and overweight/obese categories and higher fit and lower fit categories. These categories were not necessarily mutually exclusive.
"For women with mild to moderate hot flashes, there is no reason to avoid physical activity for the fear of making symptoms worse," said Elavsky. "In fact, physical activity may be helpful, and is certainly the best way to maximize health as women age.
"Becoming and staying active on a regular basis as part of your lifestyle is the best way to ensure healthy aging and well being, regardless of whether you experience hot flashes or not," Elavsky added.