PMS symptoms and period pain can cause exercise to be the last thing on your mind during your time of the month. It probably seems like exercise would only make symptoms such as back pain, bloating, heavy periods, mood swings, and low energy levels worse. You’d much rather stay in bed with a heating pad and lay low.
But did you know that there is no medical reason not to exercise during your menstrual cycle? Physical activity can actually help greatly reduce period symptoms such as pain, menstrual cramps, bloating, depression, fatigue, mood swings, low energy levels, and more. It can also help to release endorphins (“feel good” hormones) and reduce stress to make you feel better and improve your feelings of overall wellbeing. Regular exercise routines may even help reduce the overall intensity and negative symptoms of your period over time.
Keep reading to learn more about which exercise routines are best for you and your health during your period.
Is it Harder to Work Out on Your Period?
While it can be beneficial to workout during your period, it can be harder to workout during this time than the rest of the month. The first day of your period tends to be the hardest day to work out. During your period, hormonal changes cause your progesterone levels to be high and estrogen levels to be low, which can cause low energy levels and low motivation. If you’re already struggling with your fitness routine, finding the motivation to workout on your period can feel impossible. However, some women report feeling stronger during their period, so don’t let your time of the month prevent you from working out if you feel up for it.
If you are worried about workouts being harder on your period, consider sticking to workouts that are easier than your usual workout routine. Also stick to exercises that are familiar to you instead of trying something new and extra challenging. This can help get you moving and feeling your best.
What Exercise is Best During Your Period?
The best exercises to do during your period are exercises that you will actually stick with and enjoy doing! Pay close attention to your body to figure out what you feel capable of and adjust your exercise routine accordingly.
If you are suffering from intense cramps and pain, gentle exercise such as walking, yoga, pilates, or gentle stretching can help relax tense muscles in the hips and back and ease pain. Exercises such as walking, yoga, and stretching can also be done at home and at your own pace. This can be very attractive if you feel the need to slow down, take your time, and avoid any extra stress that might come from visiting a busy, public space like the gym or fitness studio. Water activities such as swimming can also feel especially great, as the water can make you feel weightless and ease pain.
Do You Lose More Weight on Your Period?
Everyone’s bodies and menstruation cycles are different, so weight fluctuations throughout the month will vary for each individual. In the time leading up to your period, increased levels of cortisol can stimulate your metabolism. However, researchers have determined that the impact of this on weight loss is probably negligible.
If you weigh yourself regularly, you may find that you weigh less immediately after your period ends. However, this is likely not due to true weight loss. Many women bloat or retain more water around the time of their period. It is normal to gain as many as 3–5 pounds of water weight before your period. After your period ends, you will stop retaining water and this “extra weight” will shed off. This may make it look like you lose more weight on your period, even though it is just water weight.
Please Make an Appointment with our Gynecologists’ Today
At Great City Medical, our women’s health specialists are here to answer any questions you may have about staying healthy during your menstrual cycle. If you want to learn more about how to stay healthy and feel your best on your period, give us a call today. Make an appointment to speak with an ob/gyn about managing your period and PMS symptoms.