Aside from the physical benefits, exercising during your period helps counter balance the mental and emotional side effects of hormonal fluctuations.
Here are five good reasons why you shouldn’t avoid the regular workout next month.
1. Your workouts reap better results than usual
Sounds crazy but don’t take it from us, take it from Dr Stacy Sims, exercise physiologist for the USA Cycling Women’s Track Endurance Program and author of ROAR: How to Match Your Food and Fitness to Your Unique Female Physiology for Optimum Performance, Great Health, and a Strong, Lean Body for Life. In it, she singles out how a woman’s exercise physiology resembles a man’s during the start of her period, which means it’s a good time to work on achieving significant gains in strength and other goals.
At the same time, a Swedish study from 2016 found that training during the first two weeks of your cycle gives you bigger increases in muscle strength, power and mass.
2. Exercise helps fight the bloat
It’s really not you, it’s the hormones – specifically fluctuations in estrogen and progesterone levels – that bring about the bloat. While avoiding foods that cause gas (beans, cabbage, brussel sprouts) helps, exercising during your period produces actual results. Doing some cardio instantly helps digestion, which reduces constipation and brings relief from bloating.
3. You feel and sleep better
Exercise means increased endorphins and seratonine which helps to bust the blues and boost your overall feel-good factor. At the very least, a short gym session will help bring on a better night of sleep and more energy the day after.
4. Your body handles heat better
As the period is a low-hormone phase, your body temperature becomes lower than usual. This means heat-based or outdoor workouts may feel easier to do. So if you’ve been putting off trying out hot yoga, this is the time to give it a go.
(Also read: 7 Best Exercises to Do During Your Period)
5. Exercise reduces backache
Lower back pain is common during the time of the month. Rather than just slapping on a muscle pain relief plaster, consider working through it. “Some core work will be good to support any discomfort on lower back,” shares Princess Lai, a yoga instructor from Freedom Yoga. “Navasana, also known as leg lifts, are accessible and uncomplicated, and forward folds are nice to ease any tightness in lower back.” She also suggests vinyasa yoga “to get the heart rate up and increase blood circulation in the whole body”.