Exercise and your Monthly Friend

Exercise and your Monthly Friend

Written by: Emma Anius


Every fertile female between puberty and menopause has experienced their period or ‘monthly friend’ in their lifetime and most of us- sadly, do not enjoy it.  But what’s to enjoy?  The cramps, the bloating, the breakouts, the mood swings, the tender breasts, the headaches and not to mention the constant bathroom breaks to check that everything is ‘OK’.  There isn’t much to look forward to when it comes to getting your period, and unfortunately there are no natural measures you can take to prevent your period from occurring.

If you do suffer from severe PMS there is something you can do to help alleviate those symptoms.  The American College of Obstetricians and Gyneocologists recommends regular aerobic exercise to help relieve PMS symptoms, exercise helps you boost your mood, fight fatigue and facilitate a better nights sleep, which lets be honest, is definitely needed when those cramps kick in.

Aerobic activities such as swimming are recommended to help get rid of those cramps; yoga is another form of activity that has been known to help. These activities are designed to stretch the abdominal muscles and can put a curb on your cramps. While you swim or go through yoga stretches, the blood flow to the pelvic region increases to quickly relieve that cramping feeling.

Exercise also has an affect of the body’s hormone levels, which can decrease the painful cramps.  Studies have shown that light to moderate exercise can reduce the congestion in your pelvic area while increasing the endorphins in your system, resulting in a higher level of relaxation.  Bloating is another common complaint during menstruation. The reason your body gets bloated during you period is because it retains fluids due to congestive cramping, according to Feminist Women’s Health Center.  Therefore if you are able to reduce the cramps during your period with exercise this could have an effect on how bloated you become during menstruation.

If exercise is already part of your daily routine, keep in mind you may not have as much energy to do what you normally do, but don’t let the lack of energy discourage you from getting a workout in. Light exercises during your period minimize PMS symptoms, start slowly, and you’ll probably find that you feel better after just 10 minutes. If your regular routine is too strenuous there are modifications that can be made; instead of running, go for a brisk walk or jog, you can swim, do yoga or even lift light-weights.

Getting moving lessens the pain and discomfort that accompanies your period while giving you a welcome boost of energy but a little moderate exercise can actually alleviate cramps and bloating. The blood circulating through your body can also relieve headaches, and the release of endorphins can help you get rid of your cranky or depressed mood.

For those of you that exercise to lose weight but decide to take a break during your period because of the discomfort you should be aware that your cycle also has an effect on your body’s fat-burning system. Your body burns additional calories during your period, but how that affects your weight depends on many factors.

A major influence over how quickly you lose weight is your metabolic rate, which is influenced by several factors, including your menstrual cycle. Your menstrual cycle affects your metabolism by increasing your daily calorie burn by as much as 359 calories, according to Healthy Weight Medical Solutions.

Therefore to lose a little extra weight every month the best time to work out would be during you period.

It is not only exercise that helps with weight loss during your period, diet plays a part as well. Avoid wheat, dairy, alcohol, caffeine and refined sugar. Increase your intake of foods high in liblenic acids, such as vegetables and fish, to induce muscle relaxation. Drink plenty of water before, during and after workouts to help flush-retained fluids.

Looking after your body is the key to healthy living.

If you have no time to exercise or don’t know where to begin:


Plank x 30 sec, front raise x 15, side raise x 15, lunge x 10, squat x 10


Plank x 60 sec, front raise x 25, side raise x 25, lunge x 20, squat x 20



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