Tips for Exercising on Your Menstrual Cycle
Exercise? On my period? That is likely the last thought that comes to your mind when feeling bloated and crampy. Decreasing hormones cause lack of motivation and fatigue. It’s a new year! Change your outlook and consider the benefits of exercising on your period. Exercise has multiple benefits regardless of menstrual cycle phase. Exercise releases endorphins (happy chemicals in the brain), increases blood flow, and decreases inflammation. You may be surprised by how well you feel by staying active, even on the toughest days of your cycle.
It is best to stick with low-intensity exercises during your period including walking, yoga, or Pilates. Research has shown these exercises can help relax the body and even decrease symptoms of fatigue, cramping, and breast tenderness. It is thrilling to get this natural endorphin high, especially during your periods. YouTube and Pinterest have great recommendations on the best yoga positions to perform on your cycle. Take at least 30 minutes out of your day to release those endorphins.
This is not the time of the month to try unfamiliar, intense exercises. Not only are the hormones at an ultimate low but menstruation can decrease iron levels and affect one’s resting heart rate. Unfortunately, this can decrease coordination which therefore can increase risk for injury. Keep your period exercises light and simple. Save your boot camp or CrossFit trial for the ovulation phase, when your hormones are peaking!
Don’t forget post-exercise hygiene. It’s best not to leave those sweaty clothes on for long. Remove and clean your menstrual cup. Take a hot, relaxing shower. Put clean period panties on afterwards. Then REST and grab some lunch!
Be mindful of food choices during your cycle. Menstruation can contribute to low iron levels in the body. Consider foods high in iron, including poultry, fish, red meats, or plant-based options such as tofu, beans, legumes, or lentils. Foods high in Vitamin C are important because they help with absorption of iron. Recommendations include citrus fruits and vegetables such as oranges, lemons, limes and peppers or tomatoes. Although it may be challenging, it is best to avoid food and beverages high in fat, sodium, and caffeine as these options can make you feel worse on your cycle. Lastly, don’t forget to hydrate! Ideally, women should drink 2.7 liters (or approximately 9 cups) of water daily.
Moral of this story. No excuses. Don’t stop moving your body on your period. Physically and emotionally, you will feel better. Feel empowered by knowing your body and your cycle.
Divine drops was started by a registered nurse who was personally feeling the pain and mental struggle of hormone imbalance and cycle shame. After traveling as a nurse she realized that the problem was bigger than just her. Girls all over the world were experiencing similar feelings but even worse they lacked the products needed to live a powerful period. This was limiting their future and full potential.
Since then she started Divine Drops, a nonprofit that provides cycle education and sustainable menstrual products to menstruators all over the world. You can make a purchase or donation today to help change the cycle.