Hey there, fellow menstruators! If you’ve ever experienced the wrath of menstrual cramps, you know they can feel like tiny ninjas karate-chopping your insides. But fret not, because we’re diving into the world of exercise and its magical, potentially cramp-busting powers.
Sweating It Out: Can You Workout with Menstrual Cramps?
According to hormone experts, our bodies have different needs during each part of our menstrual cycle, and this can affect how we feel about getting active. And instead of fighting against this, we should actually be syncing our workouts to our menstrual cycles.
How to sync your workouts to your menstrual cycle
In order to sync your workout schedule with your menstrual cycle, you need to first understand the four different phases.
The four phases of your menstrual cycle:
The Follicular Phase (lasting 7 to 10 days)
This is when you will tend to feel the most energetic. It’s when your body is getting ready to release an egg from the ovary, so your hormone levels dip. As a result, our energy levels increase, making this the perfect time to try a new and challenging workout.
The Ovulatory Phase (lasting 3 to 4 days)
This phase is where your energy levels peak. It’s in the middle of the menstrual cycle, when the body is churning out the luteinizing hormone that triggers the release of the egg. The body also produces more testosterone and oestrogen during this time. So, if there was ever a time to do really intense workouts like HIIT training, it’s now!
The Luteal Phase (lasting 10 to 14 days)
Not only is this the longest phase, but it’s normally experienced in two halves. In the first half, the lining of the uterus thickens to prepare for a possible pregnancy. As a result, your oestrogen and progesterone levels increase and your testosterone levels peak. It’s a great idea to take advantage of this by doing strength training or other weight-bearing exercises during this phase. However, in the second part of the luteal phase, many people experience an energy dip. This is because the oestrogen and progesterone levels start to decline. You may prefer to do more low-key exercises during this time, like yoga, pilates or a walk.
The Menstrual Phase (lasting 3 to 7 days)
Yep, we all know what this one means! During the menstrual phase, the uterine level starts to shed which leads to us feeling out of sorts. Now is the time to really listen to your body and tailoring your workouts routine accordingly. If you feel like doing some low-intensity exercise during this phase then, by all means, go for it. But if your body is telling you it needs rest, listen to it—as working out on your period can make you feel worse if your adrenals are already under stress.
The Perks of Being a Workout Junkie
Let’s talk benefits, shall we? Exercise has a knack for boosting blood flow and releasing endorphins (nature’s painkillers). Translation: it’s like sending an army of happy little soldiers to wage war against those cramps. Plus, it tackles headaches and fatigue – the ultimate multitasker!
And guess what? Exercise isn’t a one-trick pony. It’s got a laundry list of perks: it fights off heart disease, diabetes, and even the Monday blues. Say goodbye to stress and anxiety, and hello to better sleep and mood. Who knew exercise was such a charmer?
Exercise Types: Finding Your Menstrual Cramps BFF
In the quest for period-cramp relief, not all exercises are created equal. We’ve got two contenders: low-impact and high-impact exercises.
Low-Impact Heroes: Think yoga and leisurely walks. They’re like the gentle hugs your uterus craves during its tantrum. Bonus: these exercises can help with postpartum urinary incontinence, but we won’t tell anyone!
High-Impact Avengers: Running and aerobics, these are the big guns. They can help, but they’re not for everyone. Think of them as the action heroes of exercise, ready to take on the cramp villains in style.
Mix and match to find your ideal combo, but consult your healthcare provider if you’re new to exercise or have health concerns. Safety first, right?
Menstrual Cramps Busted: Other Natural Remedies
Exercise not your jam? No worries, we’ve got alternatives that won’t make you break a sweat (unless you want to).
Heat Therapy: A heating pad or a warm bath can be your cozy companions during cramp season. They’re like a warm hug for your cranky uterus, increasing blood flow and melting away tension.
Dietary Delights: Magnesium-rich foods like leafy greens, nuts, seeds, and dairy, along with calcium, can be your allies. Magnesium keeps muscles and nerves in check, while calcium keeps those contractions on a leash.
Herbal Heroes: Sip on ginger or chamomile tea – they’ve got anti-inflammatory powers to soothe your rebellious uterus. Plus, they’re like a warm, comforting hug from the inside.
But remember, not every remedy is a match for every superhero. Talk to your healthcare provider before experimenting, especially if you’ve got severe cramps or symptoms that are throwing your daily life off balance.
Wrap It Up: You’re the Boss of Your Period
By adding exercise and these natural remedies to your menstrual toolkit, you could become the boss of your period (or at least co-boss). Remember to pamper yourself and prioritise your menstrual health.
So there you have it, ladies! Whether you’re kicking butt at the gym or sipping chamomile tea in your comfiest PJs, there’s a remedy out there to help you conquer those pesky cramps. Remember, you’ve got this! 💪🩸🌟