Exercise and Periods
The truth is that periods can be a pain – literally! Even if you are not one who experiences pain per se, other discomforts such as bloating and lethargy are common. These can make the thought of completing even a 30-minute workout seem unmanageable. If you tend to forego the gym during that time of the month, you should probably consider that many studies indicate that women report feeling better after movement during their period. That light workout which seems like an impossible feat may actually be the solution to feeling a whole lot better.
Exercising on your period
First thing’s first: no study has found negative effects or health risks from working out during your period. So, choosing to exercise will not put you at risk or negatively affect your health.
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s talk about why you SHOULD exercise on your period. One of the best reasons is that it combats PMS.
PMS (premenstrual syndrome) affects many women in different ways. This could range from experiencing debilitating anxiety to minor depression. Some might not feel any mood changes, others might have an inexplicable feeling of being down some days before or during the first days of your period. PMS is not a myth and is a very real issue for some women. When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain. Endorphins also trigger a positive feeling in the body. Think of endorphins as “happy hormones” and one of your great allies in fighting the effects of PMS.
When you are experiencing menstrual cramps, the last things you may want to do is move around, instead, you may wish to just curl up on the couch or in bed. But as we’ve mentioned, endorphins released during exercise can help with pain and thus provide some relief from your cramps. We’re not suggesting that you run a marathon! But a light walk around the block may be effective in easing your cramps.
But I’m exhausted!
Periods can cause fatigue. Nobody wants to hit the gym when feeling sluggish, and yet ironically, it can be the best remedy. The first 10 minutes will be difficult, but once you get moving it will strengthen blood circulation and activate your heart muscles. This will result in higher energy levels and help you beat the tiredness.
What kind of exercise is best?
As mentioned before, you don’t need to run a marathon and light exercise will do.
A stroll in the park or a light yoga/Pilates session are all fantastic options. Decide what type of exercise you enjoy most and participate in that. If there is a challenging new workout you would like to try, it may be best to wait until your menstrual symptoms have subsided