Have you ever used period as an excuse to avoid doing exercise? Sometimes cramps and pain hinder athletes ability to exercise on their periods. But the truth is, exercise is actually beneficial for our body, especially on your period. You may wonder, “How does exercise help us during periods?” Here are some tips:
Benefits of exercising in period
The level of the stress hormone cortisol increases during periods. Exercising can help reduce the level of cortisol in your blood and improve your mood. It also promotes the release of endorphins, which are “happy hormones” that can distract you from discomfort you are feeling. It can combat moodiness like agitation, crankiness, and period blues.
According to Dr. Christopher Holligsworth, “Both progesterone and estrogen are at their lowest during the entire length of the period phase of the menstrual cycle, which can make people feel tired and less energetic”. Exercise during periods can improve blood circulation and enrich muscles with oxygen and nutrients, which enhances the ability of muscles to release more energy. It also helps increase the level of progesterone and estrogen in your body and keeps you energised the whole day.
Helps reduce PMS symptoms
“Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a condition that affects a woman’s emotions, physical health, and behavior during certain days of the menstrual cycle, generally just before her menses.” It is reported that more than 90 percent women have experienced PMS symptoms, and about 30 percent women felt their daily life is affected by different degrees of PMS symptoms, like emotional disturbances, mood swings, concentration issues, and sleep disturbances. Exercise during periods help reduce pain during menstruation as well as excess water retention and bloating.
Best exercises and exercises that should be avoided
In contrast to the stereotype, gentle exercises are actually recommended during your period. Here are some options you can choose:
light walking or hiking
light to moderate cardio (like jogging or dancing)
low-volume strength training
yoga & pilates
However, there are also some exercises you may want to avoid during periods. For example, you should reduce training stress and volume, like intense cardiovascular or endurance-type training. You should always listen to your body.