The toll menstrual cycles take on your body is not to be underestimated. Any female will tell you that a period can be draining to say the least. From cramps and headaches to general fatigue and grogginess, there’s a lot to unpack at that time of the month. This means adjustments need to be made to accommodate, and exercise is no exception.
If you struggle with painful and uncomfortable periods, don’t feel like you need to put your life on hold. There will be some things you can’t do, but exercise isn’t one of them.
Why you should exercise on your period
For many women, the thought of getting up and hitting the gym when they’re menstruating is the last thing on their minds, but it’s well worth doing, and here’s why. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins. Endorphins are responsible for a range of chemical reactions, including those associated with happiness and pain relief. If pharmaceutical painkillers aren’t quite relieving all your symptoms, it might be time to bring in your body’s natural painkillers.
Endorphins reduce inflammation within the body and increase blood flow. An increased flow of blood means you’ll be more energetic, and when you’re feeling lackluster in energy at that time of the month, anything to boost energy levels is welcome.
How to exercise on your period
At that time of the month, you may want to exercise a touch lighter and less vigorously than you normally would. That time of the month isn’t the time for you to try and hit a new personal best, so make sure you’re making performance allowances and not punishing yourself if you don’t maintain your usual timings and abilities.
At a time when you’re feeling not your best, make sure you do exercise that you actually enjoy. For example, if you like hiking but hate strength training, stick to hiking for that week. If you think you can’t tackle anything too demanding like a football gym workout, don’t worry. Even a 20-minute walk is exercise, and as long as you’re up and moving, those endorphins will be released and work their magic.
What products to use
A lot of women are put off exercising because they don’t know what products to use. It’s natural to be concerned about leakages because the possibility is there, and it’s not pleasant. Luckily, period products have really taken a step forward in recent years and there are more options than ever before.
The traditional options were tampons or pads. A lot of women don’t like the feel of tampons, and pads aren’t great where physical exercise is concerned because of the risk of movement. Nowadays, there are way more options than just these two, including period underwear. The highly absorbent underwear is great because it’s comfortable and discrete, but there’s also no need to worry about movement. The underwear won’t move, so whether you’re doing yoga or squats, you’re protected.
After you’ve finished working out, shower and change your clothes/products (we’re sure this is common knowledge anyway).
Know when to stop
A key part of exercising is listening to your body, and even more so on your period. The moment you start to feel exceptionally tired, nauseas or in pain, you should stop. People may say no pain no gain, but on your period, this saying is moot. If you can’t take it, stop and go home. There’s no shame in putting on a film, curling up in bed and saying that you tried.
Your ability to exercise on your period will largely depend on your personal circumstances. Whilst exercise can benefit you, it’s by no means suitable for those who suffer badly at that time. If you are able to exercise, we hope these tips have helped you.