exercise© Instagram

Expert-Approved Strategies For Exercising On Your Period

For many women, the menstrual cycle can sometimes feel like an unwelcome barrier to physical activity. Yet, recent research reveals that a quarter of women find the menstrual cycle challenging when it comes to engaging in exercise. Understanding your body’s hormonal fluctuations throughout the month can be key to adapting your workout routine effectively. To shed light on this topic, we sought help from medical experts Dr. Hana Patel, an NHS GP, and Jodi Montlake, a partner at the London Hormone Clinic, to provide invaluable insights and tips for exercising during your period.

Adapting Your Exercise Routine to Your Hormone Cycle

Your menstrual cycle isn’t just about your period; it involves various hormonal shifts that can influence your energy levels and exercise performance. Dr. Hana Patel explains that during the first half of your cycle, known as the follicular phase, increased oestrogen levels can boost energy and stamina. Conversely, the luteal phase, which follows ovulation, may bring about feelings of fatigue due to rising progesterone levels.

Understanding these hormonal fluctuations allows you to tailor your workouts accordingly. For instance, you might find higher-intensity exercises more manageable in the days leading up to ovulation, while opting for gentler activities during the luteal phase can provide relief from symptoms like bloating and fatigue.

The Best Forms of Exercise During Your Period

1. Low-Intensity Workouts: Embracing activities like yoga, tai chi, or gentle stretching can alleviate period-related discomfort and promote relaxation. These low-impact exercises help release endorphins, which elevate mood and alleviate pain.

2. Cardio Workouts: Engaging in moderate cardio exercises such as walking, dancing, or cycling can alleviate both physical and psychological symptoms associated with menstruation. However, opting for upright cardio methods like using a cross-trainer might be more comfortable during your period.

3. Resistance Training: Whether it’s light or heavy weight training, incorporating resistance exercises into your routine during your period can help reduce anxiety and improve muscle tone. The follicular phase, characterised by higher oestrogen levels, is an ideal time for weight training as your body is primed for muscle building.

Expert Advice for Exercising During Your Period

Jodi Montlake emphasises the importance of listening to your body and adjusting your exercise intensity accordingly. Recognising that each woman’s experience is unique, she encourages tuning into your body’s needs and respecting its natural cycles. If exercise feels too demanding, don’t hesitate to take a break and prioritise rest.

By adopting a mindful approach to exercise and embracing the fluctuations of the menstrual cycle, you can cultivate a balanced and sustainable fitness routine that supports your overall well-being.

In conclusion, navigating exercise during your period involves understanding your body’s hormonal rhythms and choosing activities that align with your energy levels and symptoms. With expert-approved strategies and a compassionate approach to self-care, you can stay active and empowered throughout your menstrual cycle.