We’ve all been there. Feeling motivated. Booked into a Pilates class with your friend. Maybe you’ve been attending PT with a trainer for the last couple of your weeks. Or finally starting taking swimming lessons. And then….. blood. Your period starts. Motivation? Gone. Sometime your uterus can feel like a hurdle to overcome, restricting you in your daily life. But it doesn’t really have to be that way. Let’s look into how you can get along better with your period. Contrary to what many believe, physical activity during your period can help care for your body.
Can I? Yes, you can!
Many women do not exercise during their menstrual period due to a variety of concerns.
as luteinizing hormones are actively released a week before menstruation. This physiological phenomenon induces stress which affects our daily life and makes us hesitant about doing vigorous activities and exercise. We sometimes stop exercising because we are anxious about bleeding too much or in case it becomes too strenuous on our body.
But there are zero reasons for you to stop exercising just because you started your period. Most research examining the relationship between menstruation and exercise reported that exercising during your period can help relieve menstrual stress and pain.
Exercise can be a great friend to your period as long as it is not too demanding and it's appropriate to your body’s condition.
The Effects of Exercising during Menstruation
🙆♀️ Relieves PMS
Exercising during menstruation can relieve menstrual pain, abdominal bloating, backaches, and headaches. It can also alleviate fatigue, frustration, depression, and mood swings during menstruation.
🙆♀️ Increases endorphins
Exercise accelerates the release of endorphins. Endorphins are chemicals that trigger joy and happiness and are the natural painkillers in our bodies. Releasing endorphins by exercising can help fight against the physical and mental symptoms that can occur during menstruation as they relieve pain and reduce anxiety.
🙆♀️ Feeling good
Exercising during menstruation can enhance blood circulation and help with feeling down and sad. Exercise can bring positive effects in reducing mental stress. When you feel better, you will gain the energy to overcome the remaining days of your period.
Recommended & not recommended exercises
❤️ Recommended: Walking and aerobic exercise
Take walks or do short and low-effort aerobic exercise. Walking and aerobic exercise improves the functions of vascular tissues by actively supplying oxygen to the lungs and heart. Taking a stroll is sufficient.
❤️ Recommended: Yoga and Pilates
Exercise such as yoga and Pilates that are effective in physical relaxation can reduce cramps and muscular pain and relax the exhausted body. Gentle activities are best in the first few days of menstruation, as there is heavier bleeding which makes strenuous activity uncomfortable. If taking a course with an instructor, tell them your current condition and get recommendations.
❤️ Recommended: Your usual workout
If you have your own workout routine then just reduce the intensity and duration to avoid being exhausted. The best exercise is the one that you want to do and know how to do. These exercises are easy to adjust according to your body's condition during menstruation.
🤍 Not recommended: Poses in which the body is upside down
Do not do headstand poses or inverted poses in yoga. These poses could lead to endometriosis as the blood can flow backward.
🤍 Not recommended: CrossFit and high-intensity exercise
It’s not the best time to try a new exercise or try to set a new record. It’s time to lower the intensity of your exercise as well as the amount. Let’s hold off on doing exercises that require technique or precise training.
🤍 Not recommended: Long hours of exercise without breaks
Long hours of exercise could rather be harmful. There are reports of possible exercise-induced inflammation when continuing moderate-intensity exercise for 60 minutes during menstruation.
🤍 Not recommended: Activities with a high risk of injury
There is still no scientific evidence on the negative effects of exercise that loads weight on the knees, hip joints, and lumbar joints such as weight training, squats, or running. However, hormonal levels fluctuate during your period which weakens the muscles and ligaments and doing activities may feel uncomfortable. It’s best to be careful since the risk of injury can increase.
But don’t Overdo it.
Check out some advice on exercising during your period and hanging in there!
✅ TIP: Use menstrual products appropriate to your activity
Running while using menstrual pads may be uncomfortable but getting into a pool can be downright wrong. Choose a menstrual product that’s appropriate to the type of exercise you're doing. Tampons or a menstrual cup are great for underwater activities. Make sure to check the product you're using before and after exercise and replace the tampon afterwards.
✅ TIP: Don’t overthink
If you want to exercise, go ahead but if you want to take a rest, rest. Remember that it’s okay to stop whenever you're feeling uncomfortable. Create your own rhythm and devote yourself to it. But don't withdraw from exercising because of a vague uneasiness. Also don’t overwork yourself because of others’ opinions and views.
✅ TIP: Work with an expert
It’s great to work out with an instructor or trainer with whom you can share the condition of your body. Discuss details of how much pain you're in currently and your menstrual flow to get recommendations on the best activities for you. It could be helpful in managing the symptoms and avoiding injuries.
+ Let’s think
Since when did we feel creeping anxiety and fear about exercising during menstruation?Girls had to miss PE class when on their period and this continues into adulthood, so associating exercise with menstruation becomes difficult.
Let’s shake off any misconceptions and bad impressions about menstruation and exercise that we unconsciously accepted as teenagers, and listen to the voices of our bodies.
- Exercise during menstruation is not forbidden.
- If you want to take a rest, take a rest. If you want to be active, be active.