For centuries women have been tracking their monthly cycles, often dreading the days Aunt Flo settles in for a visit. We know all too well the struggles of being female and the mere thought of exercising during this “time of the month” can naturally be the last thing on our mind. After all, who wants to be in a grueling spin class during the peak of their period, when instead, we could be curled up with a hot water bottle, binging on Netflix?
So what are the benefits of exercising while menstruating?
Science has been telling us for years that exercise is beneficial for keeping your period in line and reducing our symptoms. Research has proven that we experience a low-hormone phase during our periods which allows us to recover faster from workouts and have a higher pain threshold. Experts theorize this “relaxed mode” is a benefit of our bodies taking a break from preparing for an eventual pregnancy. Whether that is the case or not, it is widely accepted that exercise has the ability to relieve cramp discomfort and back aches associated with menstruation.
The side effects of our cycle have been cursed about for millennia and naturally, our bodies don’t feel like taking it up an extra notch on that stationary bike or grabbing more heavy kettlebells. However, rest assured, our bodies are perfectly able to handle exercise during our monthly visit and it is actually recommended we maintain regular aerobic exercise to relieve our symptoms. Studies are showing that gentle and moderate exercise during menstruation has the ability to reduce the pressure in our pelvic regions and it increases the amount of endorphins released into our bodies which can actually help us relax and fight off fatigue.
5 Alternative Exercises to Try While Menstruating
Now that we know we should exercise while menstruating, we can begin to look for more appealing alternatives for those times when our bodies are just not feeling their best.
Here are five workout ideas to try during your period:
Walking or Jogging
These are ideal alternatives to running when our bodies are hesitant to log another 5K. It will get our bodies moving and raise our heart rates enough that we can still burn fat, boost our energy levels, and tone our muscles without overdoing it. If you desire a faster alternative to walking, consider a leisurely jog or light run.
Forget those tricky yoga poses you learned in a master class and include more relaxing positions in your routine while you are menstruating. Make sure to include a few poses that have you laying facedown on the floor to help alleviate cramping while gently massaging the lower abdomen area.
While many of us have categorized hula hoops as toys for schoolyards, we should rethink this stereotype. Women all around the world are finding joy in exercising again and strengthening their cores by simply adding weighted hula hoops to their workout regime. As an added bonus, this exercise can burn up to 100 calories within just ten minutes!
Light Weight Training
Take advantage of the low hormones and try sculpting muscle tone with weight training. Start easy, afterall, this isn’t the Olympics. Try to do several short reps of light weights mixed with stretches, a warm up, and a cool down.
The combination of water and our periods terrifies many of us, but water exercise is a great way to relax and stretch our muscles. If you feel comfortable taking the plunge, rest easy in knowing that the combination of soothing water and cardio is a great exercise option for menstruating women.
Key Points To Keep in Mind
To make the most of exercising during this time of month, remember to stay hydrated. Whether it is drinking an extra cuppa or carrying around a water bottle, keep drinking those liquids. Women naturally lose fluids during their periods which can cause us to experience light-headedness if we stand or change positions too quickly. This is especially true if we are suffering from heavy flows.
Also, it is recommended to utilize cardiovascular exercises that increase our heart rates to a minimum of 65 percent of our maximum levels. This is the best way to effectively relieve cramping by stimulating circulation and not completely wiping us out in the process. So remember, we need to be especially vigilant about staying hydrated and taking it a little slower during our workouts.
Author: Cassie Brewer, a makeup professional in Southern California, USA. In her free time, she enjoys writing about her passion and everything health related. Nothing makes her happier than helping other be the best version of themselves they can be.