Do you remember that summertime feeling from when you were a kid? The sun on your face, ice cream dripping down your arm. It was a dream! But, if you’re now at the age when menopause is a factor of your everyday life, summertime can turn into a nightmare. This week we talk about how hot flashes actually work, what you can do to stave away the summertime heat, and how to keep fit if you’re staying indoors.
How Do Hot Flashes Work?
While there are other medical conditions that can cause hot flashes, the most common reason is menopause – the phase in a woman’s life when periods become irregular and eventually stop. While you’re having a hot flash, you may experience:
- Increased heartbeat
- Excessive upper-body sweating
- Flushed, red, or blotchy skin
- A sudden feeling of warmth spread throughout your body and face.
While we don’t know exactly what causes hot flashes to happen, many medical professionals believe it may have something to do with blood restriction during menopause (as well as normal hormonal changes). And while caffeine, stress, alcohol, and spicy foods may trigger hot flashes, the biggest culprit is heat! So when those summer months come around, what should you do?
How Can You Stay Cool During The Summer Months?
With a little bit of preparation, staying cool outside while going through menopause can be easier. A few things you can do to get started are:
- STOP SMOKING! Not only is smoking bad for you overall, it’s a big hot flash trigger.
- Carry a Small Fan. A small battery-powered fan can go a LONG way when there’s no available shade.
- Drink Plenty of Water. Staying hydrated will keep your body cool and also help you avoid issues such as headache, fatigue, and chronic dehydration.
- Wear Light, Loose-Fitting Clothing. Stay away from anything super restrictive. Your body will appreciate a bit of air circulation.
- Go for a Swim. Swimming is an excellent form of low-impact aerobic exercise, and is an even better way to cool down your body temperature.
- Stay Away From Stress. Easier than sounds, for sure. But, stressful situations can trigger hot flashes wherever you are. So, if you’re feeling stressed, take a moment for yourself (in a cool area, if possible) until you feel calmer and more relaxed.
If Going Outside Won’t Do, How Do You Stay Active?
Staying active is one of the best ways to fight osteoporosis, chronic pain, and insomnia while you’re going through menopause. But, if just the thought of going outside in the heat of summer is enough to make you break out into a sweat, then sweat it out inside! Staying active indoors is easier than you think!
- Join Your Local Gym. If you can afford a little treat for yourself, now may be the time to invest in a membership at your local gym. Many gyms will have motivating group classes, and possibly a pool for a low-impact (and cool) exercise experience. A personal trainer can also tailor a workout program that will fit your needs and your lifestyle. And this goes without saying: make sure your gym has great air conditioning before signing up!
- Purchase An On-Demand Fitness App/TV Program. There are any number of fitness apps, television fitness channels, and fitness DVDs that will get your body moving and your blood pumping! You can find anything from yoga, to full-body weights. Just be sure to find a program that you like and that you’ll actually do.
- Do you have stairs? Use them! Stairs are good for much more than climbing up and down! Incorporate some resistance training and muscle building, as well as getting in your daily number of steps. Your heart (and the rest of your body) will thank you!
At Miami Center of Excellence, our dedicated medical professionals are here to help you keep calm and cool this summer — no matter what stage of life you’re in. If you need a little more support to deal with symptoms of menopause, give us a call or make an appointment online.