Yes, workouts are good and vital for your health. Yet when you’re on period, suddenly the desire to put away your sneakers and take a break for a few days becomes irresistible. I totally get that!
Scientifically though, there’s no reasons for skipping exercise during this time as the benefits of working out still exist physically and mentally. You won’t save energy or feel better by avoiding exercise. So here are 5 things that will help you put on your favourite workout outfits and start moving during your period.
What are the benefits of working out on your period?
1. Mood enhancement
Having a period can literally cause pain and give you some mood swings. When you work out, there’s the release of natural “happy chemicals” called endorphins which increase dopamine, the ‘feel-good’ neurotransmitter in your brain. What do they do? Well, they enhance your mood and help to draw your attention away from the uneasy feelings related to your period (as you’re busy getting sweaty). Also, these ‘good’ hormones can be considered a natural painkiller as they battle against the ‘bad’ hormones that cause you pain.
2. Distressing period battle
it is said that 80 percent of women go through period pain. So even if your day starts great, you might still suffer pain on your stomach, your back, your legs and lots of other junk . You might feel physically shaky, have some cramping and fatigue. That’s when some physical movements can help to battle all these annoying symptoms. They reduce inflammation and increase blood flow. Regular aerobic exercise, yoga, swimming, biking, running, and even walking are all excellent options. Listen to your body to know what works best for you.
3. Farewell to bloating
Feeling bloated is always unpleasant, especially on these painful days. So one solution for reducing or eliminating bloating during your period is to work up a sweat and get your body moving. Why is that? Exercising helps to release water quickly from your body, which is a way to ‘sweep’ away bloating that is associated with your period.
4. Power and strength gains
Exercise can boost your energy gradually, which helps a lot when you’re coping with those awful symptoms. Yet there was a study looking at physically active women during their periods. They found out that there was a great improvement on these athletes’ performance. In fact, this is due to the significant drop of estrogen and progesterone during the whole period phase of the menstrual cycle. Although it can lead to what seems like fatigue and loss of energy, it is the prime time to remarkably gain more strength and power.
5. Muscle building
Yes! Menstruation means your female hormones are at their lowest point while the level of testosterone is higher. According to a Swedish study, mass muscle building in women are possible if they take intensive training during this time. So take this as good news if you’re intending to build up your muscle to transform your body.
It’s great to know all of the benefits so you can lace your sneakers up before another exercise, but hang on! Here are some Q&A that might help you have a good workout physically and mentally.
1. What kind of exercise should I do?
Well, any type that you feel like doing or are used to. It can be just a light walk, hot yoga, running, cardio, hiking, weightlifting or anything that you feel good about.
2. Should I avoid any exercises?
In general, no. There’s nothing dangerous to avoid entirely. However, you should always listen to your body and mind to not over-exercise. If you’re feeling too tired, reduce the intensity of the workout so there’s no risks of being injured or burnt out.
As for myself, when my body’s menstruating, the only thing I wouldn’t do is trying CrossFit or high-intensity exercises that I’m not familiar with.
3. What if I don’t want to exercise on these days?
What makes you want to skip it? The stomach pain? The fatigue? The low mood? Just know that you will feel better after getting some movements. Think about the benefits.
What can be your motivations? The natural painkiller? Having something to focus on so that you’ll be distracted from the cramping and bloating? Taking control of your health?
Just give it a try. 5 or 10 minutes are fine. If you feel it’s not the right day, give yourself grace and take a rest.
4. What period product can I use for workouts?
It depends on what kind of exercises that you do. You can use a pad, menstrual cup, disc or period underwear. Of course you should consider the suitability and convenience that each type of product brings. For instance, a tampon or menstrual cup might be a better solution than a pad when it comes to swimming.
Also, everyone is different. What works best for your sister might not be the same for you. Have a look at all the products and give them a try. Then you’ll know what your right period product is.