Should you exercise during your period?

by Joemar Carillo

Exercising may be the last thing on your mind during your period and that’s understandable. During their menstrual cycle, women generally tend not to want to do a lot of physical activities. However, studies have shown that working out during your period has a positive impact on your overall physical and mental health. You don’t have to run a marathon; simply doing a home workout is just as effective to feel the overall benefits.

Continue reading to find out from a leading gynaecologist in London the benefits of exercising during your period.

Benefits of exercising during your period

Reduce period pains

Around 80% of women suffer from menstrual pain like headaches and abdominal cramps at some point in their life, so you are not alone if you’re experiencing a painful period. During exercise, the blood flow to the uterus increases, which decreases uterine contractions, cramping and discomfort.

Endorphins are released when you exercise and act as a natural painkiller to ease period pains. So instead of reaching for a painkiller tablet to treat those period migraines and cramps, hit the gym for a 30 minutes jog or take a light walk around the park.

Lighter flow

One common misconception about exercising during your period is that it can make your flow heavier, but don’t let this myth or fear stop you from exercising. Even if you feel that you just gave birth to a blood clot when you exercise, studies have proven that exercise may potentially shorten how long your menstrual cycle lasts – hallelujah!

If you are someone who suffers from heavy menstrual bleeding, regular exercise may help you achieve an overall lighter period. However, you should bear in mind that your period flow is affected by your hormonal balance, stress levels, and whether you have had previous pregnancies.

Enhance your mood

Exercising during your time of the month may enhance your mood by the chemical release of the ‘happy hormones’ in your body, making you feel more confident and positive. During a workout, your stress hormone level decreases, and there is an increase in the release of dopamine – the hormone that makes us feel good during a workout. Thus, it is recommended to incorporate cardio workouts in your routine.

Increase energy level

Many women feel super sluggish, lethargic and constantly tired during their period. Sometimes, your period can make you unmotivated to do anything, and all you want to do is lay in bed all day – so to battle fatigue, it is important to put aside some time to exercise. Whether you are working on a project or catching up with old friends, you will be more energised to continue your day after a good workout.

Regulate your periods

It’s great if your period is normal and you know when to expect the flow, but it can become a problem if your menstrual cycles are irregular. It is never pleasant when you’re caught off guard, and can be quite a shock when you’re unprepared for menstruation – but did you know exercising helps you regulate your period naturally! Exercising can balance sex hormones effectively, which is an essential factor if you want to regulate your period cycle naturally.

Sleep better

It can be quite challenging to get some rest if your body is in a lot of pain and discomfort. If you’re having trouble falling asleep during your period; exercising may be a solution. Cardio increases your heart rate, raises your body temperature and causes your body to sweat – the drop in body temperature after you have exercised can make you feel sleepy, which is why it is easier for your body to relax and fall asleep.

Relieves bloating

During your time of the month, feeling overly bloated is generally not ideal for anyone. That is why exercising is recommended, as it decreases the fluid retention in your body and minimises your bloating issues. Exercises such as jumping jacks, running and crunches are recommended to reduce bloating significantly.

  • Light walking
  • Light cardio
  • Aerobic Exercise
  • Low-volume strength training
  • Yoga
  • Pilates

It is essential to research which exercises are recommended for the different phases of your menstrual cycle, as your physical capabilities will vary, depending at what point, in your cycle, you are in. During your period it is not recommended to do strenuous exercises that may overexert your body and push it over its limit. Although there are no specific exercise activities to avoid, if you feel any discomfort during a workout, listen to your body, stop if you need to, and rest.

Hydration is vital during this time, so ensure that you are drinking plenty of water while exercising.  Eating right and getting plenty of sleep are other ways to make exercising during your period more comfortable and more enjoyable experience.

Author’s Bio: Joemar Carillo is a content writer for London Women’s centre. She has written for a variety of sites on beauty, health, fitness and interior design.

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