Exercise during a period: What to know

Should you exercise during your period?


Some people experience symptoms that may include stomach upset, bloating, fatigue, and headache during their periods. Physical exercise may help to reduce these and other symptoms.
Exercise also provides a range of further health benefits. These benefits mean people should try to incorporate exercise into their routine, whether it is during their period or not.
This article will examine the benefits of exercise during menstruation, as well as any considerations to avoid or try.

Benefits

a woman getting Exercise during her period
Exercise during a period can improve mood, reduce fatigue, and reduce menstrual pain.
The following are some of the potential benefits for a person when it comes to exercising while on their period:
Improves mood
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, exercise can help to reduce feelings of depression. So, exercising may help to lift mood when a person has feelings of sadness, irritability, or anger during their period.
Reduces fatigue
Hormonal changes in the body can increase sensations of fatigue in people during their period. Physical activity can boost energy levels instead of lower them during a period, according to the Office on Women's Health (OWH).
A study in the Journal of Education and Health Promotion found people who exercised 3 days a week for at least 30 minutes for an 8 week time frame had less menstrual pain than those who did not. They concluded that exercising during and before a period may reduce symptoms.
Physical activity does not have to be vigorous or for an extended time. Even two 15-minute walks a day can offer benefits. Also, exercise is a healthful choice in general. It helps a person maintain their weight and keeps the heart and lungs healthy.
Exercising is a beneficial choice when a person is on their period and when they are not.

Tips for exercising on your period

The following are some of the potential benefits for a person when it comes to exercising while on their period:

Incorporate stretching

Gentle stretching exercises, such as yoga, Tai chi, and Pilates, can help to extend muscles that may feel especially tense while a person is on their period.
Some people may also find swimming helps reduce painful period effects by helping them feel weightless in the water.

Stay hydrated

a woman hydrating with water during exercise.
Hydrating during exercise reduces the chances of unpleasant side effects.
Dehydration can increase the likelihood a person will experience unpleasant side effects, including bloating and constipation, during their period.
Staying hydrated can keep stool moving through the bowel and reduce discomfort during an exercise session.
Keeping water on hand and taking drinks at least every 15 minutes during an exercise session can help.

Try over-the-counter pain relievers

Back pain and cramping can initially deter someone from exercising while on their period.
Taking over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen, can help to reduce cramping before an exercise session.
Applying ice or a cloth covered heating pad after exercising can also help.

Keep period protection with you

Exercise can make it seem as if a person's flow increases. This speeding up is usually because physical activity can help blood exit the uterus faster.
However, it is important that a person is prepared by wearing a tampon or a menstrual pad designed for stronger menstrual flow.
Some people may wear dark pants, just in case some blood gets onto their underwear or pants. Dark clothing makes it less noticeable if this occurs. Packing extra underwear or pants to change into after an exercise session can help.

What to avoid

According to the OWH, there are no restrictions on what exercises people do while on their periods.
A person should always take measures to exercise safely. This may include wearing protective equipment and refraining from lifting excessively heavy weights without a spotter or support.
Overall, it is best that people listen to their body during their period. If a person feels very fatigued, they could reduce the intensity of their exercise routine to prevent excessive tiredness.
There is no scientific data to prove people should restrict specific exercises or that they cannot exercise to their fullest ability during their period.

Dangers of overexercising

female doctor in office speaking to patient
A person should speak to their doctor if they exercise intensely and start missing their periods.
It is important to be aware that excessive exercise can cause a person to miss their period.
Endurance and high performance athletes may skip periods due to hormonal and body changes. If a person has started an intense exercise routine and starts missing periods, they should talk to their doctor.
Having a regular menstrual cycle is usually a sign of good health. Starting to miss periods could signal a person is overdoing it when it comes to exercise.

Takeaway

Exercise during a period may help relieve symptoms and is also beneficial for overall health.
People do not need to restrict any particular physical activities when on their periods unless they experience pain or discomfort, which suggests they should slow down.

Q:

Is it safe to do inverted yoga poses during a period?

A:

You may have heard that performing inverted yoga poses can cause the blood in the system to back up and cause congestion in your pelvis. Currently, there is no strong scientific data to suggest that it is harmful to do inverted yoga poses during a period. Blood flow to the uterus is not significantly altered to the pelvic organs by position. After all, our body is able to pump blood against gravity and does so on a regular basis. The most important thing is to listen to your body and speak to your doctor if you have any concerns.
Carolyn Kay, MDAnswers represent the opinions of our medical experts. All content is strictly informational and should not be considered medical advice.
sources:medicalnewstoday

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