The Complete Guide to Working Out On Your Period
Do you normally stick to your workouts during your period? I mean, who REALLY wants to workout when they’re tired, crampy, bloated and emotional. Ugh. Seems like the perfect week to rest, right?
But did you know that exercise can actually help with period symptoms? It’s true!
The catch is figuring out what kind of exercise works best for you. Here are some tips for how to work out and feel great on your period.
Working out really does help!
I know. All you want to do is lay in the fetal position and snack until your uterus is more cooperative. But what if I told you that finding ways to work out on your period could actually help calm things down?!
Mood swings – You’ve heard that exercise gives you a boost of endorphins, right?! Getting your heart rate up a little can release enough of this magical neurochemical to lift your spirits and make you feel happier.
Cramps – Endorphins are also natural pain relievers. WHAT?! So exercise could actually relieve dreaded period pain.
Fatigue – It sounds really weird, but staying active through your period might help you feel LESS tired.
Bloating – There’s never a good time to be bloated. But did you know exercise helps your digestive system keep moving, therefore preventing bloat? SIGN ME UP!
Headache – Ugghh not sure which is worse – the cramps or the headache?! Some people find that light exercise is a lifesaver for headache relief.
The best exercises for working out on your period
Find something that makes you feel good, even if it’s not the workouts you’re used to. Switching it up won’t slow down your progress – it could actually help! Overall, the point is to keep moving and feel your best.
Pilates – Pilates is awesome during your period because you can go at your own pace. There are plenty of ways to modify, slow down, and do what feels good. One study found that Pilates literally helps to balance brain chemicals and alleviate PMS symptoms. So cool!
Walking – When you want to move, but don’t FEEL like moving… go on a walk. Outside, if possible! Walking gets your heart rate just enough to lift your spirits and boost your energy. It can calm your moodiness and increase circulation to help soothe any cramping.
Yoga – An upbeat vinyasa flow might feel good during your period. If not, opt for a gentle, restorative flow where you can focus on muscle recovery, breathing and centering. Whatever style you choose can help with anxiety, headaches, and back pain.
Swimming – Umm, does anything sound better than being totally weightless while you’re on your period?! If you deal with cramping and painful bloating, swimming is an amazing way to stay active.
Light Weight Training – Skip the heart-pumping HIIT or cardio workouts during your period and work on strength instead. Choose lighter weights if you need to, and focus on what feels good. For example, deep squats and crunches miiiight not feel great right now. So maybe focus on the upper body instead.
Set yourself up for success to work out on your period!
First, try to eat as well as you can. Avoid the foods that make you even MORE bloated. Eat lots of colorful fruits and veggies that fight inflammation. And as always, HYDRATE!
Sleep is important too. If you’re not getting enough, then your body is likely stressed. That’s only going to make your period symptoms worse and working out will feel harder.
What you wear is important too! If the clothes you normally workout in feel tight and uncomfortable, pick a new outfit. A little swelling and bloating are normal during your period, so don’t sweat about your favorite stuff feeling a little snug. Go for comfort!
Your period products make a huge difference for comfort too. Bulky and uncomfortable products can be suuuuuuper annoying and distracting during a workout. Plus, you might not feel fully protected during your workout. It’s definitely worth experimenting with different products until you find something that works for you!
Listen. This is not the time to hit a PR or expect leaps of progress. Remember to go with what your body needs and adjust your intensity IF you need to!
There’s not a reason you HAVE to rest during your period. Actually, just giving some movement a try might actually make you feel better! If you’re having trouble feeling motivated, try thinking of the ways it could help.
BUT if your body is craving some rest, you should take it without guilt. Remember, rest and recovery are key for progress. If you struggle to incorporate those rest days or just relax (ahem, like me), then dedicate some time to rest during your period. You’ll reap the benefits when you’re ready to get back to working hard.