We don’t see too many people jump for joy when those first signs of menstruation appear. Dealing with the annoyances brought along by menstruation is a task in itself, but if you decide to add some level of physical activity to that task list, you may help alleviate some of those annoyances.
It may come as a shock to some of us that menstruation time is actually a great time to work out. Our body obviously goes through hormonal shifts throughout the menstrual cycle, and at the point of menstruation, the female hormonal balance becomes more masculine.
The many benefits of working out while you flow include:
Enhanced blood circulation and ease of cramps
Boost in mood and ease of PMS symptoms
Fatigue and headache relief
Naturally regulated periods
Estrogen and progesterone are at their lowest levels during the week of menstruation and even during the week following. So, metabolically, our bodies experience physical activity the way a male body does on any normal day.
This means that our pain tolerance is higher and our bodies recover faster. The body isn’t focused on preparing for pregnancy, so it can focus on other functions. We’re then likely to feel more powerful because other systems can operate optimally.
This is the perfect time to really challenge yourself and intensify your workout by adding reps, increasing weight, or placing more sprints into the cardio mix.
However, menstruating bodies should avoid inversion — being upside down can trigger swelling of uterus, leading to more bleeding and subsequently more cramps. If yoga is your go-to fitness format during your period, it’s best to steer clear of plow pose or any head and shoulder stands.
If you’re determined to stay active during your cycle, keeping track it is the best way to stay prepared. If you know your period is going to start soon, some doctors would recommend taking pain relief pills one to two days before to avoid the awful initial cramping that can keep some of us bed-ridden. If leakage is a concern, tampons and pads are no longer our only option as menstrual cups and panties-for-periods make their way to the mainstream.
There’s no such thing as the perfect period. We can only do our best to make ourselves more comfortable and try to alleviate the associated symptoms.
If this hasn’t been enough to convince you to keep moving despite your period, consider this:
Sweat = water expel = bloating relief.
You got this.