Periods and Exercising

Periods are difficult for many women. Cramps, nausea, fatigue, tiredness, bloated feeling, heavy bleeding makes 3-5 days every month very difficult. Almost 5-10% of women across the world face severe pain and close to 80% face discomfort of varied nature.

During this temporary and unwelcome disruption often times I am asked if it is ok to exercise during periods? Should we avoid certain exercises during periods?

It is perfectly safe to exercise during periods. 

However, depending upon the severity of the discomfort one may not be able to do all types of exercises. High intensity exercises can aggravate the condition. Low intensity exercises like jogging, walking, cycling, mild strength training exercises in conjunction with stretches have shown to relieve the uncomfortable symptoms associated with periods.

Regular exercising is beneficial to regulate the reproductive hormones and help with timely periods. Regular exercising has shown benefits in women suffering from PCOS as well. It has though not been conclusively proven that women who exercise regularly experience lesser pain and cramps during periods.

Here are my recommendation for women:

1. Exercise regularly (5-6 times weekly for 30-40 mins) to ensure timely menstrual cycle.
2. During periods, avoid heavy exercising which can aggravate the symptoms ex – heavy lifting, interval training, Crossfit etc.
3. During periods, participate in mild to moderate intensity exercises like brisk walking, cycling, jogging, mild resistance training.
4. During periods, listen to your body – while performing any exercise if you experience pain and discomfort, you should stop.

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