Put A Cup In It

Exercising on your Period: What You Need To Know (And How To Start Today)

Exercising on your Period, a complete guide by Put a Cup in It

Don’t roll your eyes just yet—we get it! Sometimes the last thing you want to do is exercise when you’re on your period. While that’s totally fine, we’re not only talking about exercise during your period. We’re talking about the overall benefits of regular exercise on menstruating bodies throughout their cycle.

It’s true that it can be tough to find motivation during your period, and it’s never wrong to rest. Making exercise a regular part of your routine, however, will not only make it a little easier to get moving when your period week rolls around, but it can also benefit your menstruation experience directly. So how exactly does exercise help your period?

Regular Exercise Helps Decrease PMS Symptoms

The general benefits of exercise are also major benefits to your menstrual cycle. Exercising regularly can improve blood circulation throughout the body, which can help improve period symptoms like headaches. Physical activity also helps to improve your mood and sustain a good balance of hormones throughout the month, especially during your period.

study done in 2013 focused on a group of menstruating individuals diagnosed with PMS who hadn’t previously exercised on a regular basis. After eight weeks of 60-minute workout sessions three times per week, those studied had significantly fewer PMS symptoms like less bloating and less severe mood swings.

Another study found the majority of menstruators who committed to a 12-week yoga program reported positive impacts on their level of fatigue, with them having more energy and a better mood, in addition to overall less painful periods by reducing menstrual cramps and bloating.

Light Exercise Reduces Cramps During your Period

When you have a menstrual period, your uterus is contracting to shed the lining. The contracting of these muscles is what causes cramping, and no one likes to be stuck on the couch with a hot water bottle for their entire period week.

Gentle exercises like stretching, yoga, or light walking are usually low impact enough to tolerate even when the cramps start to take over, and can be hugely helpful in enhancing blood circulation throughout your entire body, including your uterus. By improving circulation, you’re helping to reduce inflammation caused by the contractions and in turn, reduce painful cramping.

Exercise Promotes the Release of Natural Endorphins

Physical activity is one of the best ways to release endorphins in the brain, and getting regular exercise can help you sustain higher levels of serotonin, known as a mood stabilizer. This is especially helpful at different times during your cycle when hormone levels fluctuate, like during ovulation or menstruation.

Not only do endorphins make you feel good, they actually aid in diminishing pain perception! Endorphins help to block pain receptors in your brain, making symptoms like period cramps much more bearable. The release of extra endorphins from regular exercise throughout your cycle can also help you feel more balanced and able to combat the moodiness many of us feel during PMS and/or the week of our period.

Working Up A Sweat Can Help With Period Bloating

Bloating happens when the cells in your body retain extra water. Research suggests that leading up to and during menstruation, changes in hormone levels like estrogen and progesterone cause the body to retain more water and salt. This is what causes that uncomfortable, puffy feeling. Some physical activity that gets you a little sweaty will help the body to get rid of some of that extra water through perspiration, and increase circulation to reduce fluid buildup to reduce bloating.

Hydration is important every day of your cycle and anytime you exercise, but especially key during menstruation. Everybody and every BODY has different needs during their period, but if you find that excess bloat is an issue for you, it can help to avoid too many sugar and salt-filled foods, too.

Bloat can also be caused by the build up of gas in our systems. As your hormone levels fluctuate in the days leading up to your period, it can have an effect on your stomach and intestines trying to do their job. This is also a reason why we sometimes feel extra bloated during our periods – not just the extra water being retained. The physical activity of exercise can help move some of that extra gas through your system which can help relieve bloating caused by gas.

What are some of the Best Exercises to do When on your Period?

A comfortable level of activity looks different for everyone, but you don’t have to run a mini-marathon seven days a week to experience the benefits of exercise. If you feel like moving your body, know that lighter activities also have noticeable benefits.

  • Exercises like yoga can help reduce stress, and poses like “cobra” or “cat” can help ease cramps.
  • Light cardio such as swimming or pedaling on a bicycle or even just walking are also great low-intensity ways to keep your body moving.
  • Aerobic exercises like running and more intense cardio exercises like kickboxing or jump rope are great ways to get your heart pumping, if and when you’re feeling up to it.

The important thing about exercising on your period and being active is simply to keep it somewhat regular and routine, no matter what type of activity feels good for you. It’s also entirely okay to reduce the intensity of your exercise leading up to and during your period, if you’re up to exercising at all. You know your body best and if it’s telling you to rest there is every reason to listen!

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