Have you ever wondered why your hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms seem to have been going on forever, even though the conventional wisdom says they should have disappeared after two years? Turns out the conventional wisdom is wrong, according to the first studies to follow a group of women for as long as their symptoms lasted. The researchers found that, on average, menopause-related annoyances persist over five years—and some women endure them for a decade or more. The good news is that you may have some control over the duration: “In our research, women who exercised four to six times a week had menopause symptoms for less time,” says Nananda Col, MD, director of the Center for Outcomes Research and Evaluation, at Maine Medical Center Research Institute, in Portland.
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You’ll need to work out four or more times a week to attain the symptom-reducing benefits found in this study. The researchers didn’t look into exercise intensity, but as a general health guideline the American Heart Association recommends moving at a speed that allows you to talk but not sing.