We bet you have friends, family, and, of course, the pados wali aunty to caution you against the side effects that working out during periods can have on you. Beta, flow badh jayega. But, let us tell you that there are exercise forms you can follow during periods without causing an increased blood flow or aggravating your PMS symptoms like mood swings, bloating, tender breasts, et al. The secret lies in following a fitness routine of a light or moderate intensity – anything that gives you the opportunity to maintain your health, without making you feel uncomfortable.
So, if you’re confused and often ask yourself – “Can we exercise during periods?”, here’s discussing the exercises you can do while menstruating and the ones you cannot. Looking for some exercises during periods for weight loss? We have just the right guide for you. But, before that, let’s talk about the benefits of following a fitness routine during these few days every month.
4 Benefits Of Working Out During Periods
1. Offer Relief From Cramps
A fitness routine during your period days may give you relief from those unbearably painful cramps. To a large extent, if not entirely. Research has shown that a fitness regimen of any intensity level, spanning for at least 45 minutes to an hour, at least 3 days a week reduces the intensity of period cramps. This is because physical exercise raises the levels of certain substances called beta-endorphins in your blood, which is known to block pain.
2. Reduce Other Period Symptoms
Menstruation is accompanied by a whole lot of symptoms like frequent mood swings, fatigue, bloating, and a lot more. We needn’t tell you that! Exercise can help in keeping all of these symptoms under check, to a great extent by improving blood flow and decreasing the levels of aldosterone, a hormone that directs your body to retain water and salt. A fitness routine also raises the production of anti-inflammatory properties in your body, which keeps bloating and tenderness of the breasts under control.
3. Improve Your Mood
Mood swings become pronounced when your oestrogen level dips. This happens at the end of your period and again after ovulation, manifesting through premenstrual symptoms like sadness, anxiety, and anger. An exercise routine brings relief to these side-effects of menstruation by releasing endorphins, which are feel-good hormones, and neurotransmitters like dopamine, encouraging positive thoughts.
4. Ensure Healthy Blood Flow
Following a fitness routine will enable you to maintain a healthy body weight and also ensure an optimal hormonal balance. Both these are essential in regulating blood flow during your periods. It makes your flow lighter if you generally experience a heavy blood flow during this time of the month, and vice versa.
5 Best Forms Of Exercise You Can Do During Periods
The following will tell you which exercise is best during periods. Here’s a list of 5 of them.
1. Walking & Jogging
Cardio and aerobic workouts like walking, jogging, and dancing during periods keep your heart pumping, which gives you relief from the severity of symptoms like bloating and cramps. At the same time, it also reduces the number of days you’re on periods. Go for a brisk walk, cycle for a few kilometres, do a few minutes of Zumba or dance your favourite dance form, and you will see how your symptoms remain bearable during these days, if not vanish altogether. That apart, exercising is always a great mood-buster as it stimulates the release of feel-good hormones like oestrogen and progesterone, which uplifts your mood, makes you feel energised, and relieves inflammatory symptoms.
Running works wonders in relieving PMS symptoms among many people of the menstrual age, along with reducing the intensity of period cramps. Running doesn’t necessarily mean going for a run on the road or a jogging path, hopping onto the treadmill for some aerobic training will work just fine. However, make sure that you don’t try to follow a high-intensity workout during your periods. This answers your doubts on – “Can we run during periods?”
Okay, we get that expression of surprise on your face, wondering how you can dive into the pool considering the high chance of an embarrassing leak. But you can do a few gentle freestyle and backstrokes, nothing strenuous. Research has revealed that swimming can assist in easing psychological and physical symptoms of anxiety and depression, along with cramps, headaches, breast tenderness, and weak mobility.
Yoga is for everyone, irrespective of your age and almost for all medical conditions. It works wonders in relieving the most common PMS symptoms. Hence, yoga for period pain is a great solution, if cramps become unbearable for you. About 15 to 20 minutes of yoga during periods almost every day, if not daily, is what you need to feel positive and stay fit every day during those challenging days.
Much like yoga, pilates is often a recommended fitness routine even while you’re on your period. Some consider it to be a better alternative to aerobic exercises in keeping the typical PMS symptoms under control. It works as a great stress reliever and also maintains the required balance of brain chemicals.
3 Tips To Make Working Out Comfortable During Periods
1. Use The Right Period Products
Sanitary napkins, tampons, menstrual cups, or period panties – use whatever works for you the best. The sole objective is to prevent period leaks while making you feel comfortable.
2. Decide On The Time & Intensity
There is no fixed rule about the exact amount of time and intensity that are best suited for every woman on her period. The experience differs for each one of us and perhaps varies every month. So, exercise as much and as long as you can, without over-exerting. Be kind to yourself, and if you can, treat yourself to a warm cuppa or watch a few minutes of your favourite TV show as an incentive post-workout.
3. Focus On Hygiene
Carry extra period products, so you can change into fresh ones when you feel you there is an overflow. Carry an extra workout outfit, if your fitness routine involves you stepping out of your home. After you’re done with your fitness routine, clean your genitals and change into fresh period products to maintain hygiene.
5 Exercises To Avoid During Periods
Now that we have discussed the various types of workouts you can explore while being on your period, the following will guide you through the exercises during periods for weight loss.
1. Intense Cardio
Intense cardio can cause heavy menstrual flow, leading to excessive stress on your body and your mind.
2. Inverted Yoga Poses
Yoga during periods is mostly safe to be done while you’re on your period. The only exceptions are those that involve standing on your head. Some yoga poses to avoid during periods include headstands, shoulder stands, and plough poses are a complete no-no, because doing so can cause congestion in your uterus. This results in excessively heavy menstrual flow. So, if you prefer doing yoga for period pain, these are a few poses you must steer clear from.
It’s best to avoid practising squats, especially when you’re experiencing pelvic pain. Doing so during this time of the month is likely to increase your discomfort and pain.
4. High-Intensity Exercises
High-intensity exercises like HIIT and jumping, among others should be avoided at all costs, whether you experience PMS symptoms or not, and irrespective of their severity. A fitness routine that includes exercises like these may make your menstrual flow heavy, along with aggravating other usual symptoms, not to mention the discomfort and pain you’re likely to feel.
5. Heavy Weight Training
Give your usual weight training exercises a break during your period days, if you experience cramps right from the first day. Avoid weight training for the first 2 to 3 days, depending on the pain you experience and the flow.
4 Workout Hygienic Tips To Follow During Periods
- Choose period products that suit you the best. There is no one-size-fits-all solution for everyone during periods because each one of you experiences different symptoms and varied intensity.
- You may consider using a tampon while working out during periods to avoid leaks. However, make sure you use them correctly, so they don’t lead to an embarrassing situation or cause discomfort.
- Carry a few extra period products with you, so you can use them if and whenever required. This also is helpful if your period starts when you’re least expecting it.
- Take a shower immediately after working out. If you prefer not to use the washroom after your gym workout during periods, make sure you hop into a comforting bath as soon as you reach home.
There are just a few do’s and don’ts you need to remember and follow the above workout hygiene tips to keep your fitness routine effective and enjoyable at the same time. Know if we can do exercise during periods, which exercise is best during periods, must-do exercise during periods for weight loss, and follow your own fitness routine. Don’t skip it while you’re on your period and make physical and mental health a priority for yourself.
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