The Dos and Don’ts of Working Out on Your Period
We’ve all been there. You wake up planning to hit the gym to give your morning a boost before heading into work – only to find that your period snuck up on you overnight. You feel bloated, in pain and maybe a little grumpy (or a lot, we don’t judge). But as much as our menstrual symptoms can make us want to lie in bed with a heating pad all day, exercising while on your period can actually help relieve pain and boost your mood.1
If you do decide to push onward with your workout, we have a few Dos and Don’ts for you to keep in mind:
DO Prep for the Pain
Most women experience pain or cramping during their period. 2 If you experience period pain, you should talk with your doctor about an appropriate treatment plan. Over-the-counter painkillers, such as ibuprofen or naproxen, lower the production of prostaglandin, which can relieve period pain.2 Timing pain relief against your workout is an effective way to be active without doubling over in pain.
DO Wear the Right Clothes
It’s not only pain that can keep women from exercising on their period – it’s also the fear that moving around might cause blood to leak onto gym clothes. To limit the chances of this happening, change your pad or tampon (whichever is more comfortable for you) right before working out, and make sure you have extras on hand. Wearing dark clothing and long tops or layers can also add extra confidence and peace of mind – just in case.
DON’T Get Dehydrated
Drinking less water in an attempt to decrease bloating during your period is a huge mistake. In fact, staying hydrated during your period is critical to preventing fatigue and promoting a regulated digestive system.
DO the Right Exercises
Lighter exercises that promote deep breathing and relaxation are ideal for when you’re on your period. A light jog, yoga or tai chi will help you crush calories while simultaneously reducing some of the stress that can creep up during your cycle.2 Try breaking up your day with a brisk walk outside for extra activity and improved focus! And if you do choose to go to yoga class during that time of the month – just be sure to skip on the inverted poses (save that impressive headstand for a different day!), which increase blood flow and could result in more intense cramps.3
DON’T Overdo it
At the end of the day, it’s important to listen to your body. If your cramps are so bad you can’t get out of bed, that’s probably a sign that it might be worth skipping the gym. And of course, if you’re experiencing heavy bleeding to the point where an hour of exercise causes leakage through a pad or tampon, you should visit www.changethecycle.com and speak with your doctor about the possibility that you have abnormal uterine bleeding.
- National Center for Biotechnology Information. Effects of exercise participation on menstrual pain and symptoms. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9525266. Accessed on August 30, 2017.
- National Center for Biotechnology Information. Period pain: Overview. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0072508/. Accessed on August 30, 2017.
- Women’s Health. What Exercises Should You Avoid During Your Period? http://www.womenshealthmag.com/fitness/exercise-during-period. Accessed on August 30, 2017.
- Posted by Dot.
- On October 18, 2017