Many women find that they need to exercise more regularly to combat weight gain in menopause. Decreasing estrogen levels can lead to a slower metabolism and an expanding waistline. While exercise can prevent hot flashes in the long, some women get hot flashes while exercising. What types of activities are best in menopause and how can hot flashes be minimized so that exercising does not leave you wet and miserable? Read on to discover some strategies for keeping cool to help make exercising in menopause more enjoyable.
Exercising in the water is a great way to tone muscles, burn calories and stay cool. Swimming is an excellent form of exercise and can be done in a pool, lake or the ocean if you are fortunate enough to live near one. Access to an indoor pool means that you can swim year-round and stay fit. Watersports such as water skiing, surfing, diving and water aerobics done to music allow you to enjoy the invigorating feeling of coolness while getting in a necessary workout.
Walking, biking or hiking are activities that any women can enjoy, regardless of fitness level, age or health status. The important thing to remember when exercising is to warm up slowly and keep your heart rate within your target range for a minimum of 20 to 30 minutes. If you find that you become overheated and are plagued by hot flashes, exercise during cooler weather or at the coolest times of the day (early in the morning or in the evening) to minimize hot flashes. Dress in light layers so that layers can be shed as you become warm. Dress in breathable fabrics and avoid silks, nylon and polyester blends- cotton is your friend, particularly light cottons that allow some air exchange between your skin and the environment.
Winter sports like hockey, downhill or cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, skating and curling are excellent forms of exercise but may be difficult due to the need for warm clothing. It can be difficult to strike a balance between staying warm and not becoming overheated. Winter sports requiring a helmet may be a special kind of torture, as helmets will not allow heat to escape from the head, making hot flashes even more unbearable. If you love winter sports, be sure to stay hydrated while playing and consider a helmet liner that will absorb moisture.
Keep in mind the following tips while exercising to keep hot flashes to a minimum and enhance your enjoyment:
- Keep your hair tied up and off your neck
- Line helmets with a sweat band or wear a sweat band to absorb any moisture
- Dress in layers so that layers can be removed as you become warm
- Stay well hydrated while exercising to help your body stay cooler
- Rest as needed to allow your body to cool down
- Avoid caffeinated beverages before exercising
- Wear fabrics that allow air exchange and wick moisture away from the skin
- Try deep breathing when a hot flash hits (this can shorten the length of your hot flash)
Don’t let unpleasant hot flashes deter you from exercising and looking and feeling your best! By following these tips, you can minimize the hot flashes and maximize your workout.