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Keeping Your Workout Flow – Exercising During Your Period

By HERWriter April 9, 2011 - 5:42am

As a trainer and a woman, I know how 'that time of month' can affect your exercise efforts and regime. Cramps and bloating make it difficult to get motivated to hit the gym. It is both my personal and professional experience that exercise can help ease your menstrual symptoms. My suggestion is to stick to a typical routine even if you’re feeling a little blah. This is not the time to set yourself up for failure by increasing intensity or trying something new. If you’re feeling particularly awful, try moderate exercise such as walking or stretching to relieve your symptoms.

Make sure to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. This is especially important during this time of month. You may also want to avoid high-sodium foods, which could increase your bloating symptoms. Of course you need to listen to your body and if your symptoms are too severe, avoid doing anything that would aggravate them. You may also want to consult your doctor if the severity of this time of month is a pattern. Of course, symptoms and workout intensity vary from person to person. I find that if I do a cardiovascular workout on my heaviest day, it actually helps relieve some of my symptoms. I also find that strength training during this time is helpful as well. For my clients, if their symptoms are particularly painful, I may suggest going lighter on the weights.

I remember when I first got my period; I was fairly young and really mad I could not swim everyday in the summer. Back then, girls still in middle school were not always wearing tampons. Sure enough, it was always during the swim clubs splash parties that I could not go in the water. Instead of admitting I had my period I would stick a cotton ball in my ear and tell my friends I had an earache.

While swimming may be the last thing you may want to do, it is actually good for you. The weightlessness created by the water can ease the pain and allow you to perform exercises a little more easily. Another option, instead of a tampon, is using a menstrual cup. This collects the menstrual fluid while being worn internally.

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As well as being internal menstrual cup's are also more discreet as there's no string to hide, same goes for softcups, and neither absorb water like tampons do so better for swimming. Unlike tampons which cannot be worn before menstruation or with very light flow, menstrual cups are safe to use at these times - so no skipping swimming as your flow is too light for tampons, or no using pads just-in-case your period starts.

Menstrual cups hold more flow and have light suction so all in all you need to change them half as often and they don't leak like tampons so far more reliable.

Menstrual cups are also well known to lessen menstrual cramps - where as tampons are known to increase menstrual cramps due to their effect on vaginal health, possibility of allergic reactions to chemicals in some brands of tampons and expansion into the cervix. As a note most women can prevent cramps all together - unless there's an underlying medical problem issues like cramps and bloating can be changed with things as simple as dietary changes or herbal treatments, even just a week before menstruation.

April 9, 2011 - 11:49am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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