To evaluate the effect of moderate-intensity exercise on the occurrence and severity of menopause symptoms.
A yearlong, randomized, clinical trial, conducted in Seattle, WA, with 173 overweight, postmenopausal women not taking hormone therapy in the previous 6 months. The intervention was a moderate-intensity exercise intervention (n = 87) versus stretching control group (n = 86). Using logistic regression, odds ratios comparing exercise with controls were calculated at 3, 6, 9, and 12 months for menopause symptoms and their severity.
There was a significant increase in hot flash severity and decreased risk of memory problems in exercisers versus controls over 12 months, although the numbers affected were small. No other significant changes in symptoms were observed.
Exercise does not seem to decrease the risk of having menopause symptoms in overweight, postmenopausal women not taking hormone therapy and may increase the severity of some symptoms in a small number of women.