To work out or not during periods – is the common question amongst women when it comes to fitness. Most of you feel low on energy and drained out on the first day of the period. Though it may be unpleasant to go to the gym during this time, performing light-weight exercises do no harm to your body. Exercises can actually help ease menstrual cramps, combat PMS, and mood swings.
Let’s take a closer look at the actual benefits of exercising during the menstrual cycle:
1. Enhances your mood and combat PMS
Mood swings are a common phenomenon during the menstrual cycle. However, how bad it hits may vary from one person to the other. Some may not feel the mood changes at all. In fact, it even varies in its impact from month to month and day to day. Many women start experiencing PMS symptoms a week before the menstrual cycle.
When you exercise, your body releases endorphins (a hormone that interacts with the receptors in the brain) that reduces the perception of the pain. It also triggers a positive feeling and enhances your mood. However, the key is to listen to your own body and perform workouts that don’t drain you out.
2. Boosts blood circulation
Pain and stress associated with menstrual cramps shoot up your cortisol levels (stress hormone) and suppresses melatonin (a sleep-inducing hormone). Working out on an elliptical or walking on a treadmill increases blood flow to the muscles and reduces the severity of the menstrual cramps.
3. Beats fatigue
Studies have shown that when you feel low, it’s best to exercise. However, don’t go for a brutal HIIT or cardio exercises when you feel down as it’s not what workouts are all about. Perform light exercises at the gym such as aerobics, planks, or Zumba. This will activate your heart muscles and help beat tiredness.
4. Regulates irregular menstrual cycle
If you get an irregular menstrual cycle, then exercising can help you get your cycle back on track. However, if you are yoga person, then avoid performing complex yoga poses as they can flex your abdominal muscles, triggering pain. Eat a healthy diet and be particularly active a week or two before you expect your menstrual cycle to come.
So, if you are veering around an idea whether to hit the gym or not during periods, then I can tell you that it is absolutely ok to work out. However, it is important to be realistic and find out what your body can take because no one understands your body better than you do.