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Exercise During Period : Benefits and Healthy Practices

Updated: Jun 13, 2023

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As someone who has struggled with procrastinating workouts, I understand how difficult it can be to motivate yourself to exercise during your period. In the past, I've often found myself using my menstrual cycle as an excuse to skip workouts and indulge in comfort foods instead.

However, after learning about the potential benefits of exercising during menstruation, I've started to change my mindset and prioritize my physical health even during this time of the month. While it can still be challenging, I've found that incorporating low-impact exercises such as yoga or walking, and listening to my body's needs, have made a significant difference in how I feel both physically and mentally during my period.


Benefits Of Exercising While On Your Period

Research has shown that exercising during menstruation can actually have a positive impact on both physical and mental well-being. From reducing menstrual cramps and improving mood to boosting energy levels and promoting better sleep, there are numerous benefits to incorporating exercise into your menstrual cycle.

One - Reduces menstrual cramps

Exercise has been shown to release endorphins, which are natural pain relievers that can help to alleviate menstrual cramps and headaches. According to a study published in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science, women who participated in an exercise program during their period reported a significant reduction in menstrual cramps compared to those who did not exercise.

Two - Alleviates symptoms of PMS

Exercise releases endorphins and other neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine, which can improve mood and promote feelings of well-being. This can be particularly helpful for women experiencing symptoms of PMS such as irritability, anxiety, and mood swings. According to a study published in the Journal of Women's Health Physical Therapy, women who exercised during their menstrual cycle reported significant improvements in mood and reduced symptoms of PMS.

Three - Boosts energy levels and strength

Many women experience fatigue during their period, but exercise has been shown to increase energy levels and reduce feelings of fatigue. According to a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, women who exercised during their period reported feeling less fatigued and more energized compared to those who did not exercise.

Regular exercise is important for building strength and endurance, and continuing to exercise during your period can help to maintain progress in these areas.

Four - Improves quality of sleep

Exercise has been shown to improve sleep quality in general, and this can be particularly helpful for women experiencing disrupted sleep during their period.


Best Exercises To Do While On Your Period

I understand how challenging it can be to maintain a regular workout routine during that time of the month. Cramps, bloating, fatigue, and mood swings can all make exercise seem like the last thing you want to do.

But I've learned that exercise can actually help alleviate some of those symptoms and improve my overall mood and energy levels during my period.

One - Yoga

One great option is yoga. Practicing gentle yoga poses can help to stretch and relax your muscles, alleviate menstrual cramps, and reduce stress and anxiety.

My favorite thing about yoga is that it can be easily modified to suit your individual needs and comfort level. You can choose to practice more gentle poses or take on more challenging ones depending on how you're feeling that day. It's all about listening to your body and giving yourself the care and attention you need during this time.

Two - Light Cardio or Walking

Going for a brisk walk can help to increase blood flow and oxygenation to your muscles, which can reduce menstrual cramps and improve mood. Plus, it's a great way to get some fresh air and clear your mind.

If walking isn't your thing, there are plenty of other light cardio exercises you can try. Low-impact options like aerobic exercises or dancing can also help to get your blood flowing and reduce menstrual discomfort. Just be sure to take it easy and avoid any high-intensity workouts that could cause more harm than good.

Three - Strength Training

While you may not feel like lifting heavy weights during your period, strength training can be incredibly beneficial for maintaining muscle mass and overall fitness. This is especially important for women with heavy menstrual bleeding, as they may experience a loss of iron and other nutrients.

Four - Pilates

Pilates exercises can be a great way to improve core strength, balance, and flexibility. They can also promote relaxation and reduce stress, which can be especially helpful during your period. This can be a great option for those who prefer a more low-impact exercise routine.


Exercises To Avoid During Your Period

High-intensity exercises such as running, jumping, and intense cycling can put extra stress on our bodies and lead to increased bleeding and discomfort during our period. While cardio can be great for overall fitness, high-intensity exercises like running or HIIT can put too much stress on your body during your period. This can exacerbate cramps and make you feel more fatigued.

So, while you may love your intense workouts, it's best to take them down a notch during that time of the month.

Similarly, exercises that require a lot of bending and twisting such as certain types of yoga poses can put pressure on our abdominal muscles and cause discomfort. Exercises that require us to lie on our stomachs can also be uncomfortable during our period. These types of exercises can increase blood flow to the pelvic area and may worsen menstrual cramps and bloating.

Contact sports such as soccer or basketball can be physically demanding and may increase your risk of injury during your period. Hormonal changes during our period can affect our sense of balance and increase the risk of falls and injuries, so exercises that require a lot of balance should also be avoided.


Key Takeaways

  • Exercising during your period can have numerous physical and mental benefits, including reducing menstrual cramps, improving mood, boosting energy levels, and promoting better sleep.

  • Low-impact exercises such as yoga, light cardio or walking, strength training, and Pilates are great options for exercising during your period.

  • High-intensity exercises such as running, jumping, and intense cycling should be avoided during your period, as well as exercises that require a lot of bending and twisting or lying on your stomach. It's important to listen to your body's needs and adjust your exercise routine accordingly.


During your period, it's important to listen to your body and choose exercises that make you feel good. We all know that time of the month can be tough, so it's essential to take care of ourselves in the best way possible.

Remember, it's important to always listen to your body and adjust your workout routine as needed during your period. If you're feeling tired or experiencing discomfort, don't hesitate to take a break and give yourself permission to rest.

Take care of yourself!



Image credits - Dane Wetton

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