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What You Should Do and Avoid When You Exercise During Your Period

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Exercise During Period

While it might not be the first thing you think to do during that time of the month, it could actually help alleviate some of the common symptoms that accompany your period. Yes, we’re talking about exerciseExperts have found that exercising during your period can have a myriad of benefits for women. 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 as well as 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 take a look at what you should do and avoid when you exercise during your period. 

Best exercises to do on your period

When working out during your period, it may be a great idea to focus on exercises and routines with gentle movements. This is especially true during the first few days when your flow might be too heavy for comfort. 

Slow and steady low-intensity exercises are the best to do when you’re on your period. Here are a couple of suggestions:

Walking

The great thing about walking is that it requires little to no equipment — unless you do it on a treadmill. All you’ll need is 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 as you want to complete your route. 

Strength training

For those who are up for the challenge, some gentle strength training is also recommended. Here are a couple of ideas you can try out: 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 enduring yourself in the process.  

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 shouldn’t be exacerbated by arduous exercises and routines. 

Yes, exercise during your period can hold some benefits, but not if you overdo it. Avoid doing the following during your period:

Overexercising

Overexercising during your period can cause a phenomenon known as “amenorrhea,” or the sudden halting of your menstrual cycle. 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 is slowed way down, so you achieve the complete opposite effects that you’re striving for.  Still, this is not to say you shouldn’t work out during your period. However, you should take it down a notch to stay safe. 

Running

Although running can be a perfectly okay exercise even when you’re on your period, there may be certain cases where you can be put at serious risk. Fluctuations in hormone levels during your period can affect your running performance. Some runners may even develop a condition that’s known to the sports world as “false anemia” or “sports anemia.” 

False anemia is essentially when your body’s iron levels become lower after physical activity. It’s common among athletes, as they tend to have lower levels of hemoglobin concentrations. The best way to counteract the effects of this condition is through cycle syncingKeeping track of where you are in your menstrual cycle can greatly help your workouts and routines. 

For example, if you work out during your luteal phase, your body may have a more difficult time regulating body temperature. 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 while your period is either during the follicular phase. This is when your body’s temperature is lower due to higher levels of estrogen. 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 both your body and your mind. Still, it’s important that you practice caution and know where your limits lie, so you can avoid getting injured or sick. Physical activity is important for everyone, but it shouldn’t come at the expense of your own health and safety. Keep in mind the things to do and avoid when you exercise during your period and you should be just fine. 

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