Whilst it might not be top of your list of things to do, there could actually be some benefits to working out whilst menstruating.
Firstly, it’s important to remember not to force exercise and you shouldn’t pressure yourself into working out if you are not feeling up to it. If you are feeling good to go however, exercising can have a number of benefits.
Aerobic exercises such as walking, jogging and running are often recommended whilst on your period. Yoga can also be beneficial, however it is recommended to only attempt appropriate exercises.
In addition to the regular physical and mental benefits of exercising, there are more specific benefits you can gain from exercising whilst on your period.
Decrease PMS symptoms
It is common for women to experience premenstrual symptoms including mood swings, fatigue and aches during the lead up to your period. Doing regular aerobic exercises can help alleviate some of the PMS symptoms. Walking, jogging, running, cycling and swimming are examples of aerobic exercises that when performed regularly can help to reduce PMS symptoms. It’s important to do these types of exercises regularly to feel the benefits, not just when you are experiencing symptoms.
It Is common to feel more tired and lethargic than usual when you are on your period. However, exercise can combat this and positively affect hormones which helps you feel more energised. Exercise is known to release serotonin and combat stress, which can help you feel less fatigued.
Elevate Your Mood
The positive effects exercise can have on your mental wellbeing are well documented, meaning exercising whilst you are experiencing a low mood swing due to your period can be really beneficial.
When you exercise you release endorphins, which provide you with that feel-good sensation and reduce stress and negative feelings. Endorphins can also act as a natural painkiller, which helps with the relief of certain physical pains or discomforts you are feeling because of your period.
Experience Strength and Muscle Gains
Of course, physical activity and exercise is one of the primary methods of building strength and gaining muscle. According to a study from Umea University, the first two weeks of your menstrual cycle is the most efficient time for building strength and gaining muscle.
The reason for this is due to the lower levels of female hormones being produced. This knowledge allows women to optimise their training routines if they are looking to build muscle mass or are planning to focus on strength training.
Relieve Painful Periods
Experiencing dysmenorrhea, more commonly referred to as painful stomach cramps, can be uncomfortable for any woman. Light exercises such as walking and jogging can provide some much needed relief from painful periods. Moderate intensity aerobic exercises can help with your circulation and can also help to reduce bloating and cramps.
Exercising whilst on your period can really help to improve your mental wellbeing whilst also providing some physical relief from certain discomforts. It is better to research the recommended exercises that are most appropriate, which is typically light intensity aerobic exercises. Yoga and Pilates can also be beneficial, but it is best to avoid exercises which may cause discomfort.