(HealthDay News) – For perimenopausal and postmenopausal women, a bout of moderate-intensity physical activity (PA) is associated with objective and subjective improvements in hot flashes (HFs), but performing more moderate PA than usual correlates with more self-reported HFs for women with lower levels of fitness.

Steriani Elavsky, PhD, from Pennsylvania State University in University Park, and colleagues assessed the effects of aerobic exercise and daily PA on menopausal vasomotor symptoms in a cohort of 121 community-dwelling midlife women (aged 40–60 years) not using hormone therapy. Participants completed psychological, cardiorespiratory fitness, body composition, and hormonal status screening and were then assessed for 15 days using a personal digital assistant. Between days five and eight, participants completed a 30-minute moderate-intensity aerobic exercise bout. Accelerometry was used to assess daily PA, and the symptomatic women (92 individuals) completed two 24-hour Biolog sternal skin conductance recordings of hot flashes, at baseline and after exercise.

The researchers found that, after acute exercise, total objective and subjective HFs decreased (P=0.054 and P<0.05, respectively). Daily PA did not correlate with self-reported HFs on the between-person level; however, at the within-person level, for women with lower fitness levels, performing more moderate PA than normal correlated with increased self-reported HFs.

“Moderate aerobic exercise decreases objective and subjective HFs 24 hours after exercise; however, in women with lower fitness levels, more daily moderate PA leads to more self-reported symptoms,” the authors write.

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