If you're concerned about exercising while menstruating, you're not alone. A lot of women skip their cardio and weight training during periods. While it might feel good to avoid exercise, there's really no reason to leave your workout clothes in your gym bag.
Overall, there are no exercises that you must avoid when menstruating. Some women may wish to make a few minor adjustments, while others stick to their regular routine.
Exercises to Avoid During Periods
According to the Office on Women's Health, there are no exercises that you have to avoid. That said, some women do experience severe discomfort that may make participating in certain workouts difficult. The focus then should be on avoiding movements or exercises that make symptoms worse and modifying when necessary.
For example, if you're having pelvic pain, you may experience discomfort while performing squats during periods. If that happens, you can always modify the movement or try a different leg exercise. Crunches during periods can also cause discomfort if you're experiencing severe cramps.
Other exercises to avoid during periods include those that require intense or prolonged bouts of activity. If you find that you're more tired than normal, you might want to cut back on certain forms of cardio such as high-intensity interval training. Also, reducing the amount of time you spend exercising might be helpful if you experience fatigue. Some women also deal with heavy menstrual bleeding, which can make strenuous exercise more uncomfortable.
Recommended Exercises During Your Period
Sticking to your regular routine has many benefits, including reducing the symptoms that accompany premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Dealing with PMS is something many women face. From minor discomfort to severe cramps and mood swings, PMS can really interrupt your daily life. The good news is, regular aerobic exercise may lessen these symptoms.
Aerobic Exercise During Periods
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, participating in aerobic exercise may reduce PMS symptoms. You may benefit from sticking to lower-intensity cardio workouts such as walking, light jogging and swimming. This is also a good time to cut back on the duration of exercise. Instead of a 90-minute run, opt for a shorter run followed by some gentle yoga.
Weight Training During Periods
Weight training during periods is safe to do as long as you pay attention to your body. If you're feeling any abnormal discomfort, stop what you're doing and consider modifying the movement. You may experience an increase in strength and power early on in your period. According to a 2016 doctoral thesis published by Umeå University, the first two weeks of your menstrual cycle may allow you to experience greater gains in strength and power due to low levels of female hormones.
Stretching and Yoga During Your Period
Participating in more moderate movements, such as stretching or taking a gentle yoga class, are both great options during your period. Both of these activities can help relax your body and may even help reduce PMS symptoms such as fatigue, cramping and breast tenderness.
The most important thing to remember when it comes to exercises to avoid during periods is to continue with your regular routine, but back off on the intensity as needed, especially if you're feeling fatigued. Focus on varying your workouts and take extra time to recover and listen to your body.
- American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists: Premenstrual Syndrome
- Office on Women's Health: Physical Activity and Your Menstrual Cycle
- PlosOne: The Effects of Menstrual Cycle on Physical Performance in Female Soccer Players
- Umeå University: Doctoral Thesis: Training and Hormones in Physically Active Women: With and Without Oral Contraceptive Use