Period Exercises – What Works and What Doesn’t?

Menstruation is the most common phenomenon in a woman’s life. However, it can be messy and painful for some women due to the cramps. In that case, all you might want to do is lie down with a hot bag. You cannot even imagine moving your body to do routine activities, let alone doing any exercises. Apart from that, women still have a popular notion that they shouldn’t exercise during periods. Let’s see whether there is any relation between periods and exercises, and if any connection exists, then what is it.


During your periods, you might feel a bit lethargic. However, there’s no real reason to miss exercise entirely because you have periods. On the contrary, medical professionals believe that physical activities help reduce menstrual symptoms such as cramps, fatigue, bloating, or headache. Regular exercises positively impact our physical and mental well-being; that doesn’t change because you have periods. It is good to remember that you do not exert yourself as much during your periods as you might be doing on any other day. Always remember the mantra “moderation is the key.”


Here are some benefits of exercising during your periods:


  • Decrease PMS Symptoms – Regular exercises might help reduce Premenstrual Syndrome [PMS]. Some researchers say aerobic exercises can help improve PMS symptoms and help you feel better physically, mentally, and emotionally.


  • Enhanced mood – Many medical practitioners believe that exercising during your periods might help in enhancing your mood and increase blood circulation. As exercises release endorphins, a type of chemicals produced by the body to relieve stress and pain, it helps lift your mood and make you feel better.     


  • Fight menstrual cramps – Some women experience painful periods, also called dysmenorrhea, making this time of the month uncomfortable. In such cases, light exercises can help decrease the symptoms.


Now that we know that exercising might benefit your body during periods, let’s see what types of exercises work for you and what you should avoid. Here are some types of activities/exercises which you can do during your periods:


  • Walking or other forms of light cardio – You can do light walking or any other light cardio exercise such as slow aerobics. It says that your lungs function better towards the end of your cycle, so you can keep this type of exercise towards the end.


  • Light strength training – There might be a potential to increase strength in women during this time. So, doing light strength training periods might prove to be beneficial.


  • Yoga/Stretching – It can be helpful to practice light yoga or basic stretching during your periods. Practising light yoga during periods might help relax your body, ton your muscles, and develop flexibility and agility. It will likely reduce symptoms such as cramping, muscular fatigue, or breast tenderness. 


Now that we know what exercises are beneficial during your periods let’s also look at what exercises you should avoid. It goes without saying that too much exercising is always a “no-no” during periods. After all, you experience changes in the estrogen and progesterone level in your blood and some blood loss. Hence, here are a couple of exercise types that you should avoid during that time of the month:


  • Intense workouts/heavy exercises – You should not do strenuous or intense activities while menstruating. Even if you are used to doing such exercises during other times, always avoid practising them during your periods. There are chances that it can interfere with your periods.


  • Exercising for a longer duration – Always avoid doing exercises for a prolonged time during your periods. After all, your body needs some relaxation during the time periods. It is that time of the month to take things a bit slow compared to other times. 


  • Inversion poses of yoga – These poses in yoga are those where your feet are up, and your head is down. It might be good during any other time but not during your periods. Some believe it might cause the broad ligaments supporting the uterus to stretch and compress the veins carrying blood from the uterus. It might lead to vascular congestion and increased bleeding as the arteries pump blood in the area.


In the end, we can say that the most important thing is that you should respect your body. Though periods are a regular phenomenon in your life, they are likely to cause some discomforts in the body that you should never ignore. Lead your everyday life for sure but avoid exerting yourself too much. Women’s bodies require some relaxation during periods, and you should give that to your body. There is no harm in slowing down for a couple of days and then bouncing back with full vigor once your periods are over.


Stay healthy and indulge your body during the periods!

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