Staying in bed with the covers over your head might sound like a great idea during that time of the month.Butexercise is a healthier option. According to FamilyDoctor.org, 30 minutes of regular aerobic exercise helps relieve cramps, bloating, mood swings as well as other symptoms associated with menstruation and premenstrual syndrome, or PMS.
During menstruation, many women experience a drop in energy and enthusiasm -- especially enthusiasm toward the gym. Instead of canning the gym for a week, perform your regular workout, such as running on a treadmill, with moderate intensity. Moderately intensive exercise can help alleviate cramps and reduce uncomfortable bloating. Physical activity also speeds up blood circulation, which may help relieve headaches associated with menstruation. Physical activity also lets loose feel-good hormones, which combats bad moods.
Yoga focuses on breathing and relaxation techniques that can alleviate stress and tension, increases the flow of blood and oxygen around the body and settles down the nervous system. It also provides time for you to focus on your emotions and may help you better deal with and communicate your feelings and needs. Stretches that target the abdomen can help soothe painful uterine muscles. Try different poses such as the cat, cobra, fish or downward facing dog.
If you don't feel like running around or contorting your body, spend time lifting weights at the gym. Weightlifting helps build stronger muscles and bones. Greater muscle mass also means a higher metabolism rate, which helps you burn calories even when you're at rest. Focus on lighter than usual weights as well as smaller reps. Make sure to work out all major muscle groups, including your arms, legs, back, abs and glutes. If you start to feel fatigued or weak, stop and take frequent breaks.
Listen to your body. If exercise seems to be too much for you, it's okay to stay home and rest. On the other hand, too much exercise may result in irregular or skipped periods as well as other symptoms similar to PMS, such as moodiness, fatigue, achy muscles, insomnia and loss of appetite.
Incorporate one or two days of rest in your workout plan to allow your body plenty of time to recover from exercise. If you experience irregular or skipped periods, or other uncomfortable or severe menstruation symptoms, make an appointment to see your doctor. She may be able to pinpoint the cause of your menstruation problems.
- FamilyDoctor.org; What Is PMS?; August 2010
- FitSugar; Can Exercise Affect Your Menstrual Cycle?; July 2007
- "Yoga Journal"; Menstrual Essentials; Linda Sparrowe
- Kotex: Staying Fit
- Always: Yoga can Stretch out Your Body and Squash the Period Blues
- American Council on Exercise: Top 10 Signs You're Overtraining