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Can Resistance Training Improve Hot Flashes?

By Galen Wetzell, DPT, OCS, CFMM

woman resistance training

The Benefits of Resistance Training for Managing Hot Flashes


Experiencing hot flashes can be a distressing and uncomfortable aspect of life, especially during menopause. However, did you know that incorporating resistance training into your fitness routine can significantly help in managing these sudden surges of heat? Let's explore the amazing benefits of resistance training and how it can provide relief from hot flashes.


What are Hot Flashes?

Hot flashes are sudden, intense feelings of warmth, often accompanied by redness in the face and neck, sweating, and an increased heart rate. These episodes can disrupt daily activities and interfere with sleep, reducing overall quality of life. While they are most commonly associated with menopause, anyone undergoing hormonal changes can experience them.


How Does Resistance Training Help?

Resistance training, also known as strength training, involves exercises that improve muscle strength and endurance by using an external resistance. This can include weights, resistance bands, or even bodyweight exercises. Here are some key ways resistance training can alleviate hot flashes:

  1. Hormonal Balance: Resistance training helps to balance hormone levels, particularly estrogen and progesterone. Regular exercise can positively influence the endocrine system, helping to stabilize the fluctuations that often lead to hot flashes.

  2. Improved Thermoregulation: Regular resistance training improves the body's ability to regulate temperature. This includes better sweat response and heat dissipation, which can reduce the severity and frequency of hot flashes.

  3. Stress Reduction: Exercise, including resistance training, is a powerful stress reliever. Lower stress levels can translate to fewer hot flashes, as stress can be a significant trigger for these episodes.

  4. Enhanced Sleep Quality: Hot flashes can disrupt sleep, but resistance training promotes better sleep patterns. Improved sleep can make it easier to manage hot flashes and reduce their occurrence.

  5. Boosted Metabolism: Building muscle through resistance training boosts your metabolism, which can help maintain a healthy weight. Being at a healthy weight can decrease the intensity and frequency of hot flashes.

  6. Enhanced Mood and Energy Levels: Strength training releases endorphins, also known as the "feel-good" hormones. These can elevate mood, increase energy levels, and overall make it easier to handle and cope with hot flashes.


What Does the Research Suggest?


A 2024 study by Choudhry et al, titled "The effect of resistance training in reducing hot flushes in post-menopausal women: A meta-analysis," set out to investigate the relationship of resistance training and hot flashes (flushes). For those unfamiliar with a meta-analysis, it is a type of study where the authors look at all available high-quality studies that have already been published on a particular topic, then try to extrapolate the overall outcome or message from these studies combined.


The authors of this study looking at the relationship of strength training and hot flushes found a total of “5 published randomized clinical trials, delivering pieces of evidence for the positive effects resistance training has on vasomotor symptoms, predominantly hot flushes, in postmenopausal women. The reviewed studies suggest that resistance training reduces the frequency as well as the severity of Hot flushes in postmenopausal women.”


Getting Started with Resistance Training

If you're new to resistance training, it's essential to start slowly and gradually increase the intensity. Here are some tips to help you begin:

  • Consult a Professional: Speak with a fitness professional or healthcare provider to create a safe and effective resistance training program tailored to your needs.

  • Start with Proper Movement: Focus on dialing in proper movement before you start loading your joints and body with resistance.

  • Consistency is Key: Aim for at least two to three resistance training sessions per week to see significant benefits.

  • Combine with Other Exercises: Balance your routine with cardiovascular exercises and flexibility training for overall well-being.

  • Stay Hydrated: Proper hydration can help with temperature regulation and reduce the effects of hot flashes.


Conclusion

Incorporating resistance training into your fitness routine can offer numerous benefits for managing hot flashes. From hormonal balance and improved thermoregulation to stress reduction and enhanced mood, the positive impacts are undeniable. So, grab those weights or resistance bands and start reaping the rewards of a stronger, healthier you while keeping those hot flashes in check!


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