How Fitness Can Help With Your Period
Ladies (and gents who want to know how to help their special lady), it’s that special time of the month. Your period has come to visit and it is sending your body’s hormones into a tailspin! What can you do to alleviate symptoms associated with the days leading up to your period and during your period itself? Exercise!
Working out increases your blood flow throughout your body. Since the drop of hormone levels during your period can affect your mood, making you feel tired or cranky, the increased blood flow can get you to feel energized to take on your period head-on. Keeping yourself preoccupied in the gym too can keep you from overeating and binge eating, which can sometimes be a tendency for women around the time of their period.
During the days leading up to your period, when you may be experiencing PMS (premenstrual syndrome), you may feel bloated. This is because your hormones, including estrogen, are at their peak a few days before your period, which causes your kidneys to change the distribution of water in your body. Working out, on the other hand, increases blood circulation to your kidneys for increased water flow and thus, leads to less bloating.
Furthermore, the increased blood flow can go to the uterus to potentially relieve cramping.
Not only can exercise relieve your physical pains, but it can also relax you and help you sleep well, even in the midst of physical or mental manifestations of your period.
Reversely, your period can help your workout – those hormonal changes can be just the push needed to give your workout a boost. Take advantage of the fact that your female hormones, estrogen and progesterone, are at their lowest during your period, meaning your body can take on a workout more strongly.
Imagine– your body, for a couple of days, has quit preparing your uterus for a fetus since you are not pregnant; that is want your period signifies. Since your body is now not preoccupied with a potential pregnancy, it can focus more on your workout.
Furthermore, according to Dr. Stacy Sims, women tend to have a higher pain tolerance when on their period, therefore, women can have a more effective workout. Couple this with the release of endorphins from a workout, and you have a recipe for a healthy way to handle the physical and mental symptoms of your period, such as painful cramps. It is a cheaper and more natural solution to taking medication for relieving those cramps.
One particular exercise that can reduce your symptoms of PMS and during your period is yoga. Yoga can stretch out tense muscles and send blood flow to your pelvic area to relieve cramping.
A restorative pose, where you lie on your back and bring your heels together on the floor and bring them as close as you can to your pelvis, helps to relieve cramps and any tension in your abdomen.
Another helpful yoga pose is the knee-to-chest pose, where you bring your entire lower body to a relaxed, flexed position by bringing your knees to your chest, with your feet relaxed and pointed, while taking deep breaths.
It is always important to recognize your strengths and listen to your body when it comes to exercising, but keep in mind that consistently exercising during your period may be the needed remedy to help with any menstrual blues.
Virginia Cunningham is a writer for Northwest and yoga enthusiast in Southern California. As a woman, she is all too familiar with the pains and aches that happen each month, so she practices yoga and meditation each morning to keep her stress levels down and her pain symptoms low.