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.