Exercise is often touted as a remedy for painful period cramps, but does it actually work? Is there a risk that exercise will make your pain worse? In this article, we discuss the pros and cons of exercising during that time of the month and share the best workout options during menstruation.
Does Exercise Help with Period Cramps?
Grabbing your gym kit and heading out for a heavy workout when you’ve got your period may seem like the last thing you want to do. During menstruation, your hormone levels are at their lowest, which usually results in a lack of energy. However, exercise can help alleviate some of the menstruation symptoms, such as tiredness, low mood, and cramps. Exercise releases endorphins – your body’s natural painkillers and feel-good hormones. Because of the increase in endorphins, some women feel a reduction in symptoms just before and during their period, including a decrease in pain.
Can Exercise Make Cramps Worse?
It is worth noting that every woman is different, and what works for one person may not work for the next. If your period cramps are particularly severe, then stimulating the abdominal area through exercise may not be the best thing to do. If this is the case for you, you may benefit from ditching the resistance training and just doing some light cardio such as walking. It is important to remember to listen to the wisdom of your body. If you are being guided to skip the workout and have a rest day, then do it.
Exercises That Ease Period Pain
As we have said, every woman is different, and so it is crucial for you to experiment and see what works for you. Here are our favorite exercises to do during menstruation. Give them a go and see if they help you.
Many women find that yoga helps to alleviate their symptoms. This may be because yoga works with the breath, which reduces cortisol and calms the mind. The postures also affect the internal organs, helping to relax tight muscles and balance hormones. Generally, inversions are not advised during your period. You may get better results choosing a gentler style such as Hatha or Yin as opposed to something vigorous like Ashtanga or Vinyasa flow.
2: Light Cardio
If you are used to more intense cardio such as running or cycling, simply slow the pace a bit during your period. If you do not usually do cardio, take it easy and go for gentle walks. Walking outside is very beneficial, especially if you can stroll in nature. Nature walks calm the mind and help to reduce stress. Swimming is a low impact and relaxing form of exercise that you may also like to try.
Pilates is gentle while being targeted, which means it’s a perfect type of exercise to use during your period. If you have abdominal pain, you can avoid deep core work and focus on another area. If you suffer from lower back pain during your period, you can do some spine stretches to alleviate it.
Exercising during your period can help remedy many annoying symptoms, such as mood swings, fatigue, and menstrual cramps. Some women may find that certain forms of exercise make cramps worse. Experiment to see what works for you, and always remember to listen to your body and rest when needed.