What Exercises Should I Avoid When I'm Menstruating?

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Exercise can be beneficial during menstruation. (Image: XiXinXing/XiXinXing/Getty Images)

There are very few exercises that you should avoid during your menstruation cycle. In fact, exercise is recommended to help relieve symptoms related to menstruation, including cramps, lower back pain, water retention, irritability and other discomfort. Continuing regular practice of yoga, cardiovascular activity and weight training can help improve your menstruation experience and shorten the duration of associated symptoms.


Among experts, there are only few specific exercises that are recommended for menstruating women to avoid. Certain yoga poses fall into this category, specifically, inverted poses like shoulder stands, head stands, or plough pose, but the greater emphasis is on avoiding poses or positions that cause discomfort of any kind.

Cardiovascular Exercise

Cardiovascular exercise is highly recommended during the premenstrual and menstrual cycle. If you already have a cardiovascular routine that you follow, there is no reason to alter it. If you exercise intermittently or have an issue with significant cramps or back pain, opt for low-impact cardio exercises like swimming, walking, elliptical training and similar workout choices.

Weight Training

Weight training is recommended during the menstruation cycle. Resistance training increases strength and boosts metabolism, which can help you to avoid weight gain, a common issue during the menstruation cycle. Additionally, resistance exercises targeted to strengthen the lower back and abdominal muscles can improve muscular support and reduce the experience of pain associated with menstruation.

Yoga Practice

Yoga is highly recommended during menstruation as it promotes relaxation, improved mood, better posture, increased blood flow and circulation and muscle strength. With the exception of a few poses that may or may not be more difficult during this time, yoga practice is highly encouraged whether you are at novice level or expert level.


In general, women that are menstruating are advised to listen to their bodies and do workouts at their own pace, taking breaks as necessary and taking care not to overexert themselves. If premenstrual or menstruation symptoms are particularly bothersome to you, choose gentler exercise and stretching routines over high-impact or strenuous workouts. If pain is a significant issue for you during this time, consult with your doctor.

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