Menstrual periods, commonly known as just ‘periods’, are a normal part of life. No matter how uncomfortable they are, some people exercise while on them. They go about their daily routine without difficulties. But others can experience pain, dizziness, nausea and other similar symptoms.
“Periods should not prevent you from doing anything, even exercising,” said Dr (Lt Col) Leena N Sreedhar, HOD, Department Of Academics And Research, Consultant, Mother & Child Care, Obstetrics & Gynaecology, HCMCT Manipal Hospital, New Delhi. She suggested a few, easy-to-do exercises:
Walking and running
Walking and running are beneficial for a variety of reasons. Dr Sreedhar recommended 30 minutes of every day. ”For starters, only 30 minutes of walking or running every day has been shown to aid with cardiovascular problems and general wellness.” If you endure heavier periods, “a low-key exercise like walking may be the best bet during the worst of your period symptoms. Low estrogen/progesterone levels during menstruation might make you feel unmotivated and lethargic, not to mention any other personal symptoms you may be experiencing, such as inflammation. You can also go for slow runs on the latter days of your period. Running can help you feel better by lowering pain and frustration. But do remember to take frequent pauses and drink plenty of water”.
Commonly associated with wellness and mindful living, yoga is highly recommended for people who do not like the gym and would prefer physical activity without machines. ”Yoga can help you stay healthy during your period and is good for your own physical and mental health, and practising it on a daily basis can help you to feel less anxious, angry, and depressed,” the doctor said. To further relax and reduce period symptoms like cramps and bloating, “stretching and completing simple breathing exercises” can help.
Music is a way to relax, and dancing can help you feel better. Whether you join a Zumba class or dance at home, it can improve your mood while also helping you burn calories. Dr Sreedhar said, ”Dancing can improve flexibility and help you avoid period discomfort. Zumba has been shown in studies to help reduce the severity and length of menstruation pain. It can also be used as a supplemental treatment for primary dysmenorrhea (period pain), according to researchers.”
Strength training is a great sort of exercise to do towards the beginning of your period, when intense cardio could be too much. Press-ups, squats, lunges, etc., include strengthening your core muscles and are thus highly beneficial. Dr Sreedhar recommended, ”Reducing the amount and intensity of exercises is a wonderful method to tailor your workout to what your body can handle. If you’re used to undertaking intense strength training, choose a lighter weight for your workout. Due to favourable hormonal changes at the end of your cycle, you can kick it up a level again.”
“If you are unable to perform other types of workouts, you can simply stretch at home using forward bends, twists, and other techniques,” said the doctor. Remember to relax your muscles by taking deep breaths. Stretching the body can assist to lengthen the muscles that contract often during periods, which can help to alleviate some of the uncomfortable cramps. “Lower trunk rotations, the cobra stretch, the knee-to-chest stretch, and the standing forward bend are all good for cramp relief during periods,” she added.
Exercising during menstruation can help reduce discomfort, improve overall health and keep the serotonin flowing in your body. “Choose workouts that do not cause you any discomfort, bring any more stress to your body, or interfere with your menstrual cycle’s normal process; if they do, reduce the intensity,” advised Dr Sreedhar.