When you participate in vigorous forms of exercise, menstruation can stop or become irregular. High-intensity forms of exercise can reduce your hormone levels and stop your period. If you are concerned about not getting your period on a normal basis, changes to your exercise routine may cause you to improve the regularity of your menstrual cycle. Speak to your doctor about any changes to your menstrual cycle. Missed periods can also be caused by pregnancy or a medical condition.
Female Athlete Triad
Female athletes who participate in intense forms of exercise may suffer from a condition called female athlete triad. The three features of female athlete triad are disordered eating, abnormal periods and osteoporosis. If changes are not made to the athlete’s diet and exercise routine, complications such as permanent bone loss, infertility, digestive problems or death may occur.
Reducing your training sessions can help bring on your period if you have stopped menstruating. Ballet dancers, swimmers and track athletes participate in long and intense training sessions that may stop their periods. Dr. Edwin Dale from Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta suggests that female runners cut back to fewer than 30 miles per week to bring on their period and resume a normal menstrual cycle.
You need at least 17 percent body fat for a regular menstrual cycle, asserts Dr. Rose E. Frisch of the Harvard Medical School. Extreme dieting and intense exercise cause a decrease in body fat. Besides abnormal periods, low-calorie diets and heavy forms of exercise may also cause the athlete to experience premature bone loss and nutritional deficiencies.
Normal Exercise Routine
A normal routine featuring moderate forms of aerobic exercise and strength training is ideal for women who wish to bring on their normal periods. Spend approximately 30 minutes most days of the week participating in forms of exercise such as walking, yoga, Pilates, cycling and swimming. Two days of the week should be devoted to strength training to build and maintain muscle mass.
- "The New York Times"; Personal Health; Effects of Exercise on Menstruation; Jane E. Brody; September 1982
- "Shape"; Exercise and Your Menstrual Cycle: What Your Period Means for Your Workout Schedule; Dana Hudepohl
- "American Family Physician"; The Female Athlete Triad; Julie A. Hobart, M.D., et al.; June 2000
- Pregnancy.org; Could Exercise Be Affecting My Period?; Alexandra Allred