While it might not be the first thing you think to do during that time of the month, it could help alleviate some of the common symptoms that accompany your period. Yes, we’re talking about exercise.
Experts have found that exercising can have many benefits for women during their period. For example, studies from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists have found that exercising may help women ease symptoms of irritability, sadness, anger, and depression when menstruating.
Hormonal changes during periods are known to cause a drop in energy levels and period breakouts. Fortunately, according to the Office of Women’s Health, working out during your period can help prevent both symptoms from affecting your health.
However, just like all things in life, there are right and wrong ways to go about exercising when you’re on your period. Today, we look at what you should do and avoid when you exercise during your period.
Best Exercises to Do on Your Period
It may be a great idea to focus on exercises and routines with gentle movements when working out during your period. Also, this is especially true when your flow might be too heavy for comfort during the first few days.
Slow and steady, low-intensity exercises are the best to do when you’re on your period. Here are a couple of suggestions:
The great thing about walking is that it requires little to no equipment — unless you do it on a treadmill. You’ll need a pair of good walking shoes, some walking clothes, and you’re good to go. You can pick any location you please, adjust your speed however you want, and take as much time to complete your route.
Some gentle strength training is also recommended for those up for the challenge. You can try out some ideas: push-ups with knees down, bodyweight squats, forearm planks, and overhead presses with light weights. When strength training, don’t forget to take time to rest and recover after each workout.
Note: Don’t attempt to use heavy weights during your period or risk injuring yourself.
Balancing and Stretching
There are plenty of practices, such as Yoga and Pilates that are great for the body — especially when on your period. For instance, to decrease abdominal cramps and muscle pain, you may want to try out Yoga. On the other hand, to stretch your muscles and improve circulation, Pilates might be a great idea.
You can also try Tai-chi, which is known to help reduce tension and stress in the body.
Things to Avoid While Exercising During Your Period
While on your period, your body is under a certain amount of stress, which arduous exercises and routines shouldn’t exacerbate.
Yes, exercise can hold some benefits during your period, but not if you overdo it. Avoid doing the following during your period:
Overexercising during your period can cause a phenomenon known as “amenorrhea,” or the sudden halting of your menstrual cycle. Also, this can be a sign of energy deprivation from not eating enough, exercising too much, or a combination of both.
When you experience amenorrhea, your metabolism slows way down, so you achieve the opposite effects that you’re striving for. Still, this is not to say you shouldn’t work out during your period. However, it would be best to take it down a notch to stay safe.
Although running can be a perfectly okay exercise even when you’re on your period, there may be certain cases where you can put yourself at severe risk. For example, fluctuations in hormone levels during your period can affect your running performance. Some runners may even develop a condition known to the sports world as “false anemia” or “sports anemia.”
False anemia is when your body’s iron levels lower after physical activity. It’s common among athletes, as they tend to have lower hemoglobin concentrations. The best way to counteract the effects of this condition is through cycle syncing. Keeping track of where you are in your menstrual cycle can significantly help your workouts and routines.
For example, if you work out during your luteal phase, your body may find it more difficult to regulate body temperature. Also, this is because your body’s cooling functions aren’t as responsive during this phase due to the increase of progesterone levels in your system.
The best time to run during your period is during the follicular phase. Also, this is when your body’s temperature is lower due to higher estrogen levels. Estrogen also works to enhance endurance by boosting the metabolism of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates in your body.
The Bottom Line
Exercising during your period can be healthy and beneficial for your body and mind. Still, you must practice caution and know where your limits lie to avoid getting injured or sick.
Physical activity is essential for everyone, but it shouldn’t come at the expense of your health and safety. Keep in mind the things to do and avoid when you exercise during your period, and you should be just fine.