Just the thought of being active during ‘that time of the month’ makes some of us feel like throwing out our workout gear? If you are worried about how your period will interfere with your fitness routine, you are not the only one.
There are several reasons why lots of us avoid exercise during this time of the month. Just because you have your menstrual cycle does not mean you need to take a break from your workout routine. Exercising during your period does not mean that the physical and mental benefits stop. Continuing with your routine relieves some of the usual symptoms that come with menstruation. During the period phase progesterone and estrogen are also at their lowest levels making us feel more tired and less energetic. It’s important to know that not exercising isn’t going to make you feel more energetic. Rather than cutting back or stopping activities while menstruating a better option would be to explore some new workout routines.
Five Benefits of Exercising During Your Period
Aerobic exercise may help lift some of the usual symptoms experienced a few days before your period and throughout your cycle like fatigue and mood shifts.
Feel Good Endorphins
Exercise releases a natural endorphin high and can improve your mood and help you feel better. In fact, one of the key benefits of exercise while menstruating is the endorphin release and workout “high.” Endorphins are also a natural painkiller and can relieve discomfort from periods when released during exercise.
Increase in Strength and Power
During the first two weeks of your menstrual cycle (day one being the first day of your period) you will have lower amounts of female hormones enabling you to have greater strength and power.
Improve Your Mood
Exercising at this time will also improve your mood and increase circulation, reduce cramps, headache, or back pain.
Helps with Painful Periods
If you suffer from painful periods (dysmenorrhea) you know how debilitating it can be. Exercises like light walking may assist in reducing painful symptoms.
Gentle exercises are ideal during the first couple of days of your period especially if your flow is heavier during this time.
Best Exercises While on Your Period
Slow Walking or Light Cardio
It’s best to lower the intensity and frequency of your cardiovascular or aerobic exercise. Think about incorporating light cardio, walking, or shorter sessions of aerobic exercise. Some research suggests that your lungs function at an improved capacity later in your cycle, so maybe think about saving that type of activity for the end of your period.
Due to the potential for greater strength during this time, incorporating lower quantities of strength training is considered wise. Adding some longer sessions with a mix of strength training and cardio is also a good idea.
Yoga and Pilates
Two to three days just before your period begins is often a good time to try some yoga as it may help relax your body and assist with cramping, breast tenderness and muscular fatigue and pain.
Exercises Not as Helpful
Many of us can still go on with our usual routine with some slight adjustments as needed, but there are some exercises best avoided. Usually reducing training stress and quantity is advisable. So cutting back rather than stopping altogether is the suggestion. Also if you may be feeling more tired than usual listening to your body and reducing heavy cardio and endurance-type training is best.
We all know regular exercise is beneficial for both our body and our mind. There is no scientific evidence to support that stopping exercise during your period is what we should be doing. Quite the opposite in fact, there is evidence to show that working out and training during your period can reduce and stop many of the uncomfortable symptoms we may experience. The takeaway is to keep exercising but not as intensely and particularly if you are feeling fatigued. Do a mix of workouts and do take additional time to rest and recover and always stay true to what you are capable of.
Ready to find out more about getting the best out of your training during your period? Our qualified, friendly Move With Women trainers will help support your health and well-being goals, and introduce you to some interesting facts, tips and ideas about other health and well-being topics including sleep, nutrition and mindfulness.