Can We Do Exercise During Periods?
For the majority of women, menstruation is an unpleasant experience that tends to disrupt their emotional and physical well-being in some way or another. This uncomfortable feeling compels a woman to opt for an inactive routine devoid of workouts and socializing. Also, many women decide to give exercise a miss due to prevalent myths related to exercise during periods.
Exercising during a period is a kind of dilemma that is faced by women all across the world. Many myths and taboos are associated with exercising during periods. Due to the same, many women ditch their fitness routine. However, the truth is that yes, we can do exercise during periods. So you need not ditch your fitness routine, and you can get the benefits from periods pain relief exercises.
In general, there are no restrictions when it comes to turning to exercise during periods. However, one should take additional measures to exercise safely. Right from ensuring wearing protective equipment to avoiding intense weight lifting without support, it is best to be more mindful and attentive while exercising during periods.
Tips for Exercising on Your Period
Stomach ache, fatigue, bloating, cramps, and headache are a few symptoms experienced during periods. Exercise during this phase imparts an array of health benefits by mainly alleviating these symptoms while uplifting mood. However, following the below-mentioned tips can make the entire workout experience during the period more comfortable.
1. Incorporate mild stretching
Mild stretching is a great way to help your body get prepared for the workout. A mild stretching right before the beginning of the workout session also increases the blood flow in the body and thereby alleviates cramps and many other discomforting menstrual symptoms.
2. Incorporate gentle yoga postures
Yoga aligns the body, mind, and soul and therefore reduces stress levels, elevates mood while improving blood flow. As per the 2016 study, it has been revealed that the people who practiced yoga on a regular basis experienced lesser PMS symptoms, including cramps, abdominal swelling, breast tenderness, and many more. Many gentle yoga postures, such as Child's pose, Cat-cow pose, Pigeon pose, Corpse pose, and Low-cobra pose, offer significant relief from period symptoms as they strengthen the back, hip, lower back, and knees while reducing body ache.
3. Stay hydrated
One of the main reasons for period symptoms like constipation and bloating is dehydration. While working out, the body loses a good amount of water in the form of sweat. Therefore, before embarking on exercising, it is essential to drink fluids to keep your body hydrated.
4. Over-the-counter pain relievers
Taking over-the-counter pain relievers can help alleviate symptoms like cramping and back pain, especially when these symptoms are causing a lot of discomfort. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Advil) are two popular over-the-counter drugs for pain relief. Besides this, applying ice post exercising can also help to reduce cramps as ice imparts relief from the pain by constricting blood vessels.
5. Additional period protection
Exercise can make blood flow faster from the uterus than usual due to physical exertion. So while working out, it is vital to wear a tampon or carry additional sanitary pads with you to manage a heavier flow. Moreover, it is ideal to opt for dark clothing to manage leaking concerns.
6. Choosing a suitable period product
Choosing a period product comes with a dilemma. For a few, tampons work well, while others may experience discomfort while using tampons. The same holds true for menstrual discs and cups. The majority of the people refrain from using advanced period products and are comfortable with sanitary pads.
However, to ensure optimizing the workout benefits while minimizing the possibility of stains, it is crucial to adopt a flexible approach in the context of period products.
7. Practising utmost hygiene
Hygiene is an important element to take care of during the menstruation cycle. When you are exercising, you cannot ignore the hygiene part due to a multitude of reasons. Especially exercising during summer, experiencing rashes due to sweating is a common factor. This can lead to a painful situation. Moreover, poor hygiene during menstruation can result in bacterial or fungal infection of the urinary tract and reproductive tract, besides causing skin irritation and discomfort. It can also lead to dermatitis, where the skin turns red and swells while developing blisters and sores.
Best Exercises to Do on Your Period
Undoubtedly menstruation is quite uncomfortable due to varied reasons. Bleeding, body ache, cramps, mood swings, and many more symptoms disrupt the routine. During this, gentle movements like mild walking and many more ideal exercises can uplift your mood to a great extent by alleviating these symptoms.
If you are wondering if it is okay to work out during periods or not, here are a few excellent exercise ideas that can fit into your period routine.
1. Mild walking and running
Walking is considered the simplest exercise, and during periods mild walking can impart many health benefits while elevating your mood.
During the later days of your periods, when symptoms turn mild, burning calories by jogging or running is a wonderful exercise idea.
However, it is important to take short breaks in between, especially while experiencing any discomfort. Also, keeping yourself well-hydrated is a key to enjoying uninterrupted running without feeling exhausted.
2. Light cardio and low-volume strength training
Doing cardio at a lower intensity can help your lungs work better while helping your body cope with the additional emotional and physical stress caused by the menstruation cycle.
Embracing low-volume strength training is a smart exercising idea that can help your body to alleviate a range of symptoms like stomach cramps, inertia, body ache, and more.
3. Aerobic Exercise
When customized as per the body comfort during the period, aerobic exercise like jogging, cycling, and more can be integrated into a period workout routine.
A tailor-made workout designed as per the body's comfort can provide relief from sluggishness, mood swings, stomach cramps by engaging the body and mind towards physical activity. The improved flow of blood helps the body to release period stress while helping the body to avoid fat accumulation.
Yoga, being a natural form of exercise, can help your body to relax in myriad ways while reducing symptoms. Be it cramps or breast tenderness, muscle soreness, or fatigue; there are dedicated postures that are competent in delivering you the benefit that you expect from exercising.
They include Cat-cow pose, Bound Angle Pose, Supine Twist Pose, Child's pose, Pigeon pose, Inverted Leg Pose, Corpse pose, Low-cobra pose, and more. These poses regenerate your blood circulation, lower your blood pressure, and strengthen your nervous system, besides offering an array of health benefits.
Being a low-impact workout, Pilates comprises controlled movements meant to enhance the core strength of the body. It helps the body to enhance mobility, balance, flexibility while elevating mood.
It focuses on deeper and smaller muscles. Therefore, if you are skeptical about any workout, you can turn to Pilates without giving a second thought.
6. Strength training
Trying gentle training exercises along with mulling over lighter weights can help you derive benefits of workout in an easeful way during the menstruation phase. However, it is important to steer clear of heavy-duty lifting as it may disturb the period cycle.
7. Tai chi
A form of self-defense, Tai-chi is a gentle and graceful series of physical stretches and exercises meant to reduce stress while offering myriad health benefits. Known as mediation in motion, it not only strengthens the body physically but also helps in decreasing stress and tensions by aligning body and mind.
Since period does take a toll on the emotional and mental well-being, integrating Tai chi with other workout routines can further enhance the overall delight of the workout routine.
A fantastic fun-filled activity, dancing can go an extra mile in uplifting your mood while burning calories. Moreover, in an age of variety, it need not be monotonous because dancing continues to evolve.
Choose a dancing genre or style that aligns with your mood and body comfort to beat period blues.
Benefits of Exercising During Periods
A period is a natural hormonal phenomenon, and it should not let you stop experiencing the mental and physical benefits imparted by the exercise. Indeed, exercising during periods can help alleviate period symptoms. Here discover the top benefits of exercising during your menstruation cycle.
1. Helps feel active and energetic
During a menstruation cycle, two important hormones, estrogen and progesterone, are at their lowest, resulting in a feeling of tiredness and inertia. In such a situation, avoiding exercise is neither going to save energy nor going to help you feel better. Therefore, one should rather integrate exercise into a routine instead of avoiding it to feel better and active.
2. Reduce PMS symptoms
With the menstruation cycle, there comes along many disturbing symptoms like mood swings, fatigue, and more. These symptoms can make you feel sluggish, and exercising can help you break this vicious circle to make you feel healthier and better by facilitating improved blood flow besides reducing inflammation. Also, exercise promotes the release of happy hormones called endorphins, thereby curbing mood swings.
3. Elevate endorphins level
Mood swings are one of the most common symptoms triggered by a period. Exercising can help you tackle your mood swing by elevating endorphin levels to make you feel better ultimately. Endorphins are believed to be natural painkillers that get released during a workout. Therefore, your panacea to feel relief from pain during the period lies in exercising.
4. Alleviate cramps and decrease irritability
Menstrual cramps are one of the most common symptoms of periods that can be reduced with the help of exercise as it does increase blood circulation. Besides, exercising during the period also results in alleviating back pain, headache, and body ache. Moreover, exercise during the period does enhance the production of feel-good hormones (endorphins) and thereby helps in reducing anxiety, pain, depression and irritability and improves mood to a great extent.
5. Reduces fatigue
Hormonal changes during the period trigger fatigue. In such a situation, doing a workout enhances the energy level in the body. What is important here is that physical activity must be included in the routine during the period, and it does not have to be intense. Even 15-minute walks in a day will suffice to keep the heart healthy while managing many period symptoms.
6. Reduces Bloating
Bloating is one of the common symptoms to experience while exercising due to the hormonal imbalance of the body. Exercise improves the mobility of the body and helps relieve bloating as the sweat helps decrease the belly water, which results in reducing period bloating.
7. Cure For Depression
Depression is also a common symptom experienced during the period due to the discomfort that comes with the bleeding and disruption of a few routine activities. Turning to exercise can help cope with a feeling of depression by engaging the mind in a productive direction.
8. Reduces risk related to medical issues
Workout, in general, provides plenty of health benefits to the body. They include reduction in period bloating, stress, mood swings, stomach cramps and more. So when done during a period, it contributes to reducing the risk related to severe health concerns as well as alleviating symptoms. They include heart attack, arthritis, diabetes, osteoporosis, and stroke.
Exercises to Avoid on Your Period
During menstruation, some exercises need to be avoided, while there are some where volume and intensity need to be reduced. During menstruation, some exercises that are slightly difficult feel more difficult due to the involvement of specific precision and skill, such as endurance-type training and cardiovascular exercises.
1. Prolonged exercise
During menstruation, it is not a prudent idea to opt for prolonged exercise. Any intense workout can lead to exercise-induced inflammation.
2. Inversion-focused yoga posture
Any inversion-focused yoga posture can lead to increased bleeding due to vascular congestion. The veins are responsible for carrying the blood to the uterus when they get compressed; the natural outcome is in the form of increased bleeding.
Dangers of Over Exercising
It is not the exercise that is the primary concern during the period. It is the way one does it. While exercising during a period, one needs to be mindful of body adjustments. Most importantly, one should not force the body to perform the exercise. Just because it is working for somebody else perfectly well does not mean that it will work exactly the same way for you.
If one feels any discomfort, one needs to reconsider the idea of exercising or probably switching to another kind of workout or even decreasing the intensity can help to a great extent. However, if one feels no discomfort while exercising, one can easily continue with the workout routine.
An intense workout can result in skipping the period. Generally, high-performance athletes and endurance athletes experience skipping periods as the body triggers hormonal changes. In such a scenario, it is recommended to consult a doctor.
The best way to understand how a body reacts to physical activity during a workout can start with walking. It is the simplest form of workout that can be done without experiencing any equipment concerns and location concerns. Adjusting intensity is also easier.
Summing Up on Can We Do Exercise During Periods
So far, no scientific reason explains anything contrasting answers related to can we work out during periods. Women need not give exercise a break during the menstruation cycle. Integration of exercise during this time does go a long way to alleviate an array of symptoms while helping one manage mood swings and balancing hormones. However, if one feels pain or any discomfort, one should slow down and also consult a doctor. Everybody reacts differently during periods, so what holds true for one may not hold true for somebody else.
1) Can I Do Squats During Periods?
Yes, you can do Squats during periods. However, a few women may experience discomfort during specific workouts, including squats. Precisely in the context of Squats, you may modify it, or you may altogether avoid it based on how your body reacts to it. If you experience higher pelvic pain, you may consider avoiding it entirely.
2) Can I Do Plank During Periods?
Yes, you can do planks during periods. Planks are recommended during periods to alleviate period symptoms such as backache and body ache. Planks do help in strengthening back while easing the stress during the periods. Also, when you do planks, a multitude of body parts encompassing hips, chest, butt, abs, and arms achieve higher mobility out of it.
3) Can We Do Exercise During Periods for Weight Loss?
Yes, we can do exercise during periods for weight loss, and there is no dearth of relevant exercising options. Right from mild walking to running, from easeful yoga postures to Pilates, from lower-intensity workouts to restorative exercises, gentle exercising can help you avoid gaining extra weight.