It’s easy, and often beneficial, to cut yourself a break and indulge a little when you have your period. Mineral baths can help relieve cramp discomfort and sleeping more can help you store a little energy for the future. But, think twice before skipping your workout.
Research has shown that physical activity has significant benefits on the minds and bodies of menstruating women. Consider this:
• Exercise may make you happy. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise most days to reduce period-related fatigue and depression. Women who undertake regular, moderate, aerobic exercise reported more positive mood states than non-exercisers . On the flip side, exercising women report lower levels of negative mood states (including anger, sadness, hostility, fear, and guilt) . Exercisers are also less anxious compared with non-exercisers .
• Exercise stimulates a natural response to menstrual discomfort. Research shows that there is a positive relationship between exercise and lower levels of menstrual symptoms. Physiologically, exercise produces pain-fighting endorphins; exercise improves blood flow and may reduce the discomfort of cramps and painful periods (dysmenorrhoea). In fact, many physicians tell their patients that regular exercise should be part of their therapeutic treatment for menstrual pain and discomfort.
• Exercise boosts your energy. Exercise can help you maintain your normal levels of motivation and alertness, reducing the need for stimulants such as sugar or caffeine, both of which seem to have an aggravating effect on cramps. The best trick to avoid the unpleasant ache is to cut back on the consumption of chocolate, coffee, tea, cola and sugary snacks.
So, how do you get yourself motivated while menstruating? A few tips to keep you active every day of the month:
• Take a ride in the slow lane. If you aren’t feeling like your usual self, don’t fret about slowing down your normal workout routine. Don’t feel like running? Take a walk instead. Don’t want to wear your usual skimpy shorts to the gym? Opt for a yoga video at home. The point is to stay active.