Exercising during a period has its pros and cons. Practicing some physical activities during this time helps deal with physical ailments that come along with the menstruation cycle. This is one of the most complex times and the progesterone and estrogen levels of the body remain very low, thereby draining the body of energy completely.
Myths about exercising while on period
Most people fear or avoid exercising during their menstruation period. However, studies say that it is absolutely fine to exercise during this time. A few limitations and restrictions must be kept in mind for the benefit of the body.
It is also a popular belief that one loses more weight if one exercises during the cycle. However, this is a completely baseless statement. Losing or gaining weight is not enhanced or reduced during this time. The calories burnt are only dependent on the amount of calorie intake and the exercises performed by the body.
Sometimes even if the stigma of avoiding exercises while on period is absent, a misconception persists that only light physical activities are allowed during this time. There is no limit or restriction as long as the body permits it.
Benefits of exercising while on period
- Reduces pain and lifts the mood
Most women experience aches and pain, especially backache and stomach pains while on period. The hormone named endorphins, which is secreted in large amounts, while exercising during this time, acts as a painkiller naturally. Endorphins react with the receptor cells of the brain, which reduces the feeling of pain in the body. Hence the aches are relieved.
- Lifts up the mood
Endorphins cause mood boost and are said to have the same effect on the body as that of morphine. While exercising, endorphins are secreted in high amounts. Hence, the mind is relaxed and free of stress. This in turn causes an upliftment of the mood.
- Gives more power and strength
Research has found the during the first two weeks of the menstrual cycle, the body gains more power and strength through exercise than on regular days. The reason this happens is while on period, the estrogen and progesterone levels are low.
Exercises one can practice while on period
As much as it is safe to say that it is good to exercise while on period, it is very important that the exercises are light and well-regulated as per the capabilities of the body.
The exercises must be chosen very carefully and must be well planned. One may also continue with their regular exercise routine during this time if it suits their body.
These exercises can be practiced while on period, as recommended by professionals.
Light walking or other light cardio
Light cardio exercises can be included in the routine during this time. Light cardio training usually includes kicks, jabs, jumping jacks, and more of such kind. These exercises do not exert too much pressure on the body and keep the body healthy and fit, at the same time.
If the exercises stress one out too much, one can walk for a light walk or simply take a stroll. The lungs function better during the menstruation cycle, as per studies and hence a little walk might boost the lung capacity too.
Low-volume strength training
If the body permits, low volume strength training is a very good option for women on period, who don’t want to compromise on their workout routine.
Low volume strength training is following a routine of exercises that includes one set of heavy exercises and two sets of light exercises. The set of heavy exercises is followed on alternate days, while the sets of light exercises can be done on the other days. This kind of exercise routine necessarily maintains long hours of break in-between exercises.
Yoga is one of the best options that one can choose as an exercise while on period. It helps in making the joints stronger, its main objective is to increase the flexibility of the body. Yoga not only relaxes the body but also calms the mind. Yoga and Pilates have been proven to provide comfort to aches and also release stress. Hence it is apt during the cycle.
Pilates is very similar to yoga with minor differences. While yoga involves strengthening the joints, Pilates essentially aims to increase the strengths of the muscles and relax them. Pilates also increases the flexibility of the body muscles.
Avoid too heavy exercises
Strenuous routine heavy exercises should be avoided. However, if the body complies with the regular exercise routine during this time, there is no harm in it. During this time the body remains exhausted, hence light exercises are recommended.
Choose the most comfortable products
The right product must be chosen for exercising. While on period, the body generally uncomfortable. In this case, additional wears such as pads, tampons, and menstrual cups further add to the discomfort.
One must choose products that are the most comfortable for the body. Uncomfortable makes the body difficult to relax and while exercising it is very important to relax the body and the muscles.
Heed to the body’s needs
The requirements of the body should be the prime concern during this time. One must heed to the needs of the body irrespective of everything. If the body refuses the energy to exercise, one should skip it. If the body demands more food than usual, there’s no problem in consuming a few extra calories. However, the skipping of exercise or intake of extra calories should not bother one. One must not stress oneself out. The mind and the body should always be relaxed.
Drink lots of water
The body should not get dehydrated at any given point during this time. There should be a lot of water intake, more than usual if possible. While on period, the body tends to get dehydrated very easily.
Exercising while on period has health benefits and can be adopted by one and by all. There is no harm in exercising during the cycle. Each human body functions differently, hence each body reacts differently while on period. Measures and activities must be adopted as they may suit the body.