Should you proceed with your regular workout routine during your period? More importantly, will exercise during period be beneficial to your health, or worsen the already unpleasant symptoms? Exercise during the period has been a widely discussed topic, with experts mainly agreeing that working out during the period is healthy.
However, there’s more to this topic than a simple ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ answer. Here’s what you need to know about exercising during period:
Menstrual Cycle/Period and Exercise Performance
By now, you’re aware that there are hundreds of thousands of female sports players, athletes, and gymnasts who train while having periods, many of them even competing while menstruating. So, what does the research say?
Your monthly hormonal fluctuations (the change in estrogen and progesterone level during the cycle) won’t have a significant impact on the efficiency of exercise. In terms of hormonal fluctuations during the period, there’s no link found between oxygen consumption, heart rate and breathing, body mass, and the concentration of hemoglobin.
As research findings suggest, you shouldn’t have to adjust your workout routine to your menstrual cycle in terms of performance. You should do it for convenience if and when necessary.
Exercise May Help You Cope with Dysmenorrhea (Heavy, Painful Periods)
While some women experience only bleeding discomfort during the period, others suffer from intense cramps in lower abdomen and back, as well as heavy bleeding. Scientists have tried to test if exercise helps alleviate dysmenorrhea symptoms, and the results were inconclusive. This means that no significant links were found between dysmenorrhea symptoms and exercise.
Still, researchers warn that these results shouldn’t be interpreted as a call to dismiss exercise during the period. Wider health benefits of regular exercise, such as stronger immune systems, and feeling cheerful due to endorphin release, may be enough for you to cope with painful symptoms easier.
Tips Self-Care for On-Period Workouts
If you want to exercise during the period, here’s what you need to do:
Keep Your Iron Levels in Check
If you’re feeling weak during the period, and you lack the energy to exercise, try using an iron supplement and adding more iron-dense foods to your diet. Iron deficiency of various forms has been said to be a cause of low-energy levels during the period, and affect negatively the energy production during the menstruation stage of the cycle.
Adjust Your Routine
Your gynecologist is the best person to help you find the right workout option during your period. Also, your fitness instructor should also be able to adjust your exercises for you to benefit health-wise, but still not experience extra pain and discomfort. Some studies have shown that exercise does, in fact, reduce the pain levels in women with dysmenorrhea. Keep in mind that abandoning exercise while on your period isn’t harmful, but you’re missing the opportunity to relieve some of your cramp pains.
Think About Reducing The Cardio
While some women feel great after breaking a sweat, to others it might be excruciatingly painful. If you feel intense pain in your lower abdomen and breast area while performing cardio exercises, perhaps a lighter routine will be a better fit. During the period, you can switch from your intense routine to yoga, hiking, or stretching exercises.
If you’re working out solely for the purpose of a healthy lifestyle and a good shape, there shouldn’t be any harm in adjusting your exercise routine if the period is making you feel week and you’re sore in your belly. After all, period only lasts up to seven days in a month. You don’t have to push yourself through a demanding workout routine if it feels overly exhausting and painful.