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Being a woman means having certain days a month painted red. Yes, we menstruate. It’s a natural, womanly process and that’s fine. No need for awkwardness, girls. It’s the 21st century and, thankfully, that’s not taboo anymore. Wait, did we just make it awkward by insisting on it not being awkward? Nah, we don’t think so, but when it comes to working out when menstruating, women can feel hesitant.
Why? Well, some women feel a lot of belly pain during their menstruation, and that makes it hard for them to focus on the training. Some other experience nausea, headaches and tiredness, and they would rather suspend training until they feel better. Take into account that exercising while wearing a tampon or a pad could be no easy task either.
Nevertheless, each body is a unique experience, regardless of general consensus, and every experience should be respected and embraced. Some women actually report no discomfort at all while they’re on their period. They keep exercising as usual and have no issues with pain or exhaustion.
It comes down to a matter of personal choice or comfort, meaning it’s up to you to decide whether you want to work out or not while having your red days. Still, we did find some cool benefits of exercising while on the first days of your cycle. Curious? Yes!
Experiencing fatigue, mood swings, cramps, back pain or headaches when getting closer to your period, and also during your cycle, can be normal, but regular aerobic exercise may help lessen these symptoms and improve circulation.
Exercise gives you a natural endorphin high, it can improve your mood, and actually make you feel better and happier. One of the main benefits of exercise while feeling even more womanly is the endorphin release and workout “high.” And since endorphins are also natural painkillers, when they get released during exercise, you may feel relief from painful periods, also called dysmenorrhea.
A study has shown that training during the first two weeks of your menstrual cycle –the first day being day 1 of your period– actually optimizes and enhances your performance, and it’s actually better than exercising in the last two weeks of your cycle.
Some women have trouble sleeping while menstruating and exercise can be perfect to help your body catch up on some well-needed bedtime. Pain and discomfort sure can take a toll on your sleep quality, and with the added mood swings (anger, sadness, heightened feelings of anxiety), you might find it more difficult to relax enough before bed to get some true sleeping time on those days.
That said, going for a long run or doing some restorative yoga poses can help relax muscle tension. Especially, trying it out before bedtime. Practice some yogic hip-openers like reclined butterfly, low lunge, or a gentle frog pose since gentle stretches and breathing help cool the body down in preparation for rest.
Doing cardio helps as well. It raises your body temperature, which is what causes the body to sweat. That post-exercise drop in the body’s temperature can create sleepy feelings, relaxing tense muscles and lifting menstrual migraines.
No problem. We know that despite the benefits, sometimes it’s hard to feel at ease doing a yoga class, running or boxing while on your period. We also know that finding a good pair of pants –stretchy but tight enough so you can move freely but keep everything in place at the same time– is key for feeling more comfortable if you like training on period days. Try our Alana pants, which also come full of social impact. Which is even better, right? And if you ask us, we believe we should continue to take advantage of the physical and mental benefits of exercise even during our periods. In fact, sticking with a routine can actually help ease some of the common complaints that accompany menstruation.
The period is a complex time for women from a hormonal point of view. Both progesterone and estrogen are at their lowest during the entire duration of the period phase in the menstrual cycle. This can make people feel tired and less energetic. Hence, avoiding exercise will not save us energy or make us feel better. Instead of ceasing all activity during your period, you can try starting a light routine on those days.