A systematic review and literature review both concluded that there was little improvement in vasomotor symptoms with a variety of different forms of physical activity (1,2). No form of physical activity, particularly aerobic or resistance exercise, led to a consistent improvement in vasomotor symptoms.
However, the three more recent randomised controlled trials of various forms of physical activity including walking, stretching and gym-based exercises showed significant improvements in vasomotor symptoms (3,4,5).
Quality of Evidence
Quality of Evidence: Grade A – a systematic review, literature review and several RCTs have reviewed the effect of physical activity on vasomotor symptoms
Strength of Recommendation
Strength of Recommendation: Grade 2 – more RCTs are needed to confirm the form of physical activity required.
So far, there is no conclusive evidence to suggest that physical activity reduces vasomotor symptoms. This is based on a systematic review and several RCTs which showed inconsistent effect of physical activity on vasomotor symptoms. However, specific forms of physical activity at particular times of day have not been researched fully as it is likely that evening, high-intensity physical activity could worsen VMS.
- Pettee Gabriel, K., Mason, J. and Sternfeld, B., 2015. Recent evidence exploring the associations between physical activity and menopausal symptoms in midlife women: perceived risks and possible health benefits. Women’s Midlife Health, 1(1).
- Shorey, S., Ang, L. and Lau, Y. (2020) ‘Efficacy of mind–body therapies and exercise‐based interventions on menopausal‐related outcomes among Asian perimenopause women: A systematic review, meta‐analysis, and synthesis without a meta‐analysis’, Journal of Advanced Nursing, 76(5), pp. 1098-1110.
- Kai, Y., Nagamatsu, T., Kitabatake, Y. and Sensui, H. (2016) ‘Effects of stretching on menopausal and depressive symptoms in middle-aged women: a randomized controlled trial’, 1(8), pp. 827-32.
- Javadivala, Z., Allahverdipour, H., Jafarabadi, M. A. and Emami, A. (2020) ‘An Interventional strategy of physical activity promotion for reduction of menopause symptoms’, Health Promotion Perspectives, 10(4), pp. 383-392.
- Hu, L., Zhu, L., Lyu, J. Y., Zhu, W. J., Xu, Y. P. and Yang, L. (2017) ‘Benefits of Walking on Menopausal Symptoms and Mental Health Outcomes among Chinese Postmenopausal Women’, International Journal of Gerontology, 11(3), pp. 166-170.