I don’t know about you, but my monthly period is a bit of an inconvenience. I feel bloated, tired, and start craving chocolate like no other. But it doesn’t interrupt my healthy routine. Why? Because it doesn’t have to.
I know what you’re thinking…should you really exercise during your period? The answer is heck yes! In fact, exercise during period weeks can help make dealing with your monthly visitor easier and more fun.
Let’s dive in!
How does exercise affect your period?
Exercise can help reduce those painful cramps that leave you curled up around a heating pad for hours on end. The key is to exercise lightly.
You can still exercise during your period, but the key is not to push yourself too hard. Excessive exercise puts a strain on your body and can interrupt your period or make it less predictable.
That said, your period should absolutely not keep you from exercising.
The benefits of exercise during period weeks
Exercise at any time is beneficial, but when you’re coping with your monthly visitor, it’s even better.
Improve your mood naturally
PMS can be a real buzzkill when it comes to keeping my mood and mentality upbeat and happy. Exercise actually helps reduce those mood swings and low feelings during my period, through a nice endorphin rush.
Ditch fatigue without overloading on caffeine
Almost every woman I know feels sluggish and tired during their period. Though a fresh cup of coffee in the afternoon can help perk you up, exercise during period days is even better. Moving gets your blood pumping and circulating throughout your body. This helps deliver oxygen throughout your body and boosts your energy levels naturally…no caffeine needed.
Regulates your cycle
Stress, work, diet, and habits can all make your period irregular. While you could reach for birth control to regulate your cycle, you don’t have to. Regular exercise and a healthy diet can help keep your cycle on track. Check out my previous post about how to regulate your cycle without birth control for more tips and tricks.
Gets rid of cramps
While exercise increases your blood flow and decreases fatigue, it also helps power through those annoying cramps! The more stressed you are, the worse your cramps will be. Since exercise releases endorphins and reduces stress, the cramps will be less severe. And with good blood circulation, they’ll come a lot less frequently!
For some reason, getting a good night’s sleep can be tough when you’re on your period. By exercising in the late afternoon (or after a particularly rough day at work) you’ll be more relaxed come bedtime. This means you’ll probably fall asleep more easily and sleep through the night without too much trouble. If exercise isn’t quite enough, try these simple tips to improve your sleep.
Regular moderate exercise during your period won’t necessarily make the period shorter, but it will help keep things regular. As an added bonus, you’ll experience less of the annoying side effects of PMS, bloating, and cramps that make your period the least fun week of the month.
What exercises should you do on your period?
Now that you’re familiar with some of the benefits of exercise during period days, you’ll need to figure out what types of exercise to do in the first place. The key here is to get yourself moving without pushing yourself to your limit.
Yoga allows for gentle stretching and movement of your body without putting significant strain on your muscles. Each movement takes focus, shifting your mind from dwelling on those cramps or continuing a bad mood.
Best of all, the poses build strength without bulking up your muscles. With the right yoga session, you’ll be relaxed while you work out.
Go for a brisk walk or take a light jog around the neighbourhood. If gyms are more your vibe, spend a few minutes on the elliptical trainer or get your heart pumping on the treadmill. All you need is about thirty minutes.
Remember, you don’t have to push yourself to meet a specific pace. Any movement is better than none, especially on your period. Just keep moving and keep your heart pumping. Here are a few ideas to help.
I know I said not to push yourself with crazy-intense workouts during your period, but a little bit of intensity can make you feel great, as long as it’s not during your heaviest days. Try a HIIT (high-intensity interval training) workout as one of your types of exercise on period days.
Believe it or not, your hormone changes during your period actually make the HIIT more effective at burning away unwanted fat. Not sure where to start?
Check out my HIIT routine that will help you burn fat and tone your body without bulking up!
Okay, meditation might not be a physical exercise, but it still counts! Instead of working out your body, you’ll be working out your mind.
Sit in a comfortable position—cross-legged on the floor or in an upright chair—and close your eyes. Then, take deep breaths focusing on each breath rather than the stress you encountered during the day.
If you need something else to focus on, try these great guided meditations!
What You Might Want to Avoid During Period
Just as some exercises are ideal for helping you get through your period, some are best left out of your routine. Here are a few things to avoid both during your period:
Packed fitness classes
When I’m on my period, I don’t like to be crammed into a room filled with other people. Instead of going to a full Zumba, yoga, or other group exercise class, pick a less busy time. If all the sessions are full, run through the routines on your own.
Super intense workouts
Exercises such as high-intensity cardio or circuit style classes can leave you feeling completely drained. If you don’t feel great and have severe PMS symptoms, it’s best to avoid these until you feel better.
Doing nothing at all
The very last thing anyone on their period should do is avoid exercising entirely. Remember, any exercise during period days is better than vegging on your couch.
Let me know which are your favourite types of workouts during period days in the comments! Xx