Working Out While on Your Period: How Does It Affect Your Gym Sesh?
Posted byChristine Yu
The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the interview participant in this blog do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of Hologic, Inc.
Note: This blog post is written based on an interview with Dr. Jonathan Zaidan, MD, a board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist practicing at Women’s Excellence in Lake Orion, Michigan.
Working out while on your period may be the furthest thing from your mind. Curling up under a blanket with a cup of tea and a good book sounds so much better than schlepping to the gym to get your sweat on. Plus, relentless bloating, cramping and heavy bleeding can keep even the best of us from our regular workout schedule, but should it?
We asked Dr. Jonathan Zaidan, MD, a board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist, to share some of the challenges that women face being active during their period and why exercise may actually help.
Challenges of Working Out While on Your Period
While we know that exercise is good for you, some activities may lead to embarrassing mishaps or uncomfortable situations. According to Dr. Zaidan, sports that involve a lot of lower body movement prove to be the most challenging for women who want to stay active while on their period.
For example, tennis can be troublesome during your time of the month, and not just because of your tennis whites. “Every time you hit the ball, the pad or the tampon shifts,” he says. “There’s a lot of back and forth movement. If you have a tampon full of blood, it’s going to leak through.” Yikes. And surprisingly, bowling can lead to similar accidents, too.
Other activities may be difficult because of the amount of time you spend exercising, says Dr. Zaidan. Take running. You may run upwards of an hour or more, especially if you’re training for a race. In case of an accident or you need to change your tampon, your running route may not include easily accessible public bathrooms. “These become big issues. A lot bigger than people think,” says Dr. Zaidan.
Why Exercise Can Help
While you may want to just chill on your couch and binge on your latest Netflix obsession, exercising while on your period can actually make you feel better.
Not only does working out release feel-good endorphins, but it can help alleviate painful cramps and bloating. Dr. Zaidan also recommends a non-steroidal pain reliever, which can decrease some of the blood flow during your period.
Plus, body weight can influence your menstrual cycle, according to Dr. Zaidan. “The biggest thing you can do is exercise to keep your weight under control,” says Dr. Zaidan. “People who are healthier and have predictable ovulation are more likely to have regular periods that are not as heavy.”
But, it’s also OK to take a break from your regular exercise routine. You don’t need to be a slave to your workout schedule. Listen to your body and do what feels right for you.
And if you do experience heavy or irregular bleeding, be sure to see your doctor.
“Interview with Dr. Zaidan.” Telephone interview by author. December 5, 2016.
- Posted by Christine Yu
- On March 3, 2017