The Dos and Don’ts of Exercising During Menstruation

While exercising on the red days is known to modulate pain and make you feel less bloated as you lose some body water through sweating, there are some significant points to consider. 

Especially if you tend to feel weak on the first days, pay extra attention to your individual body signals to prevent you from feeling worse during or after your workout. Follow our recommendations below to know exactly what to do and what to avoid when you do physical exercises at menses.

Stretch Out

Simple stretching is a workout, too! Go for it if you can’t do other exercises because of pain. Regular standing stretches on the floor can raise your energy level and make you feel better. 

Other options out of the gym are Pilates and yoga. Pilates aids moving blood and lymph through the body, which minimizes cramps, bloating and irritability. It can also improve your posture, strength, and flexibility. Certain yoga poses (the downward facing dog, the cobra, the bow, etc.) can relax your back muscles from typical pains and relieve cramps by decreasing uterine contractions. Because of its breathing techniques, yoga is a natural remedy for anxiety and stress often accompanying the hormone fluctuations. Consult your instructor for specific yoga postures.

Stay well hydrated

During menstruation, drink lots of water – especially if you exercise. Having 8 to 10 cups of fresh water per day can ease bloating and prevent the typical headaches and feelings of fatigue and weariness. Moreover, it normalizes the blood pressure by helping extra liquids leave the body faster and smoother, eases digestion and stimulates blood flow to reduce the pain significantly.

Other simple ways to keep a healthy fluid balance at the menses are consuming green tea, coconut water, and fresh fruit juices. Having caffeine drinks and alcohol can make cramps even harder.

Jog or walk

If you can’t work out as usual because of menstrual pains, try light jogging or taking a walk instead. Gynecologists note that walking and running can decrease feelings of fatigue and depression during menstruation. Not only they improve your metabolism and prevent constipation, but also relieve muscle cramps. 

Easy jogging or brisk walks around your neighborhood or on a treadmill can increase your energy levels and boost your mood. They are excellent for preventing you from feeling isolated when you stay within four walls for those few days of the month. So put on your running shoes and jog away from the menstrual blues!  

Don’t Overdo It

During menstruation, an energetic kickboxing or cardio session can result in overall exhaustion. It may considerably decrease your body fat composition to cause amenorrhea – the absence of menstruation, which can boost your risk of cardiovascular disease, cause infertility, and have a serious long-term impact on your future ability to work out. Amenorrhea also makes your bones prone to fractures or premature osteoporosis. Also, many women suffer from poor motor control when on their period, which increases their risk of ACL injury. So, save exercising at top speed, sprints, etc. for after your menstruation.

Don’t Do Inverted Postures

If you’re a yogi, abstain from inversions when on your period. Shoulder stands, headstands or the plow pose can cause cramps and abdominal pain. Any posture with your head on the ground causes swelling of the blood vessels in your womb, which will make you bleed more and suffer more severe pain. Strenuous abdominal yoga exercises at menses could lead to excessive blood flowing out of your vagina and cause abdominal pain afterward. That’s why you should sustain from the inverted yoga poses until your period is over, and go for relaxing ones.

Don't Push Yourself

During your period, most importantly, listen to your body. If you’re feeling too tired, sore, or lousy, give yourself a break – skip the workout. Those few days off won’t change your overall fitness dramatically. You can simply go for a walk, ride the bike, or do some light easy movement to help decrease inflammation. 

Often, pain means your body is asking you to take a timeout. Don’t feel guilty if you skip the exercise when suffering from cramps. But if menstrual pain often makes you sustain from other daily activities, consult your doctor: it may signal other health problems.

When you exercise during your period, make sure to use special underwear to hold your pad in place. Find the one that allows you to move around comfortably and forget the anxiety that it’s visible. You can also choose menstrual cups instead of liners. Check out our options for menstrual products and comfy underwear