Exercising throughout your cycle
You don’t have to be an elite athlete to reap the benefits either, adding a bit of activity to your schedule can dramatically reduce PMS symptoms and improve your overall well-being.
If you’re someone who works out often, you’ll be happy to hear that you should keep on, keeping on. Working out before, during and after your period is a great way to relieve symptoms and feel your best throughout your cycle!
On the other hand, getting into a habit of working out regularly can be tough, especially if you aren't used to it, so here are some of the main stages of your cycle and the workouts we recommend.
Days 1-6: Menstruation
During your period, you may feel as if you have less energy than normal due to the low hormone production at this time. If so, now is the time you’ll most benefit from restorative focused activities or exercises.
How to stay active: Going to a yoga or pilates class is perfect during this time of your cycle as it will help you sleep better and produce some much needed mood-boosting endorphins. Long walks in nature are also a good choice and will naturally reduce stress levels. While extreme sports may feel a bit more uncomfortable during this time, working up a good sweat can still treat unwanted period symptoms, so if you’re up for it, feel free to continue with your usual gym sessions. Exercise in the bedroom *wink wink* is also great as it can ease period pain and help you finish your period faster!
Days 7-13: The Follicular Phase
You may notice that the hormones during this phase will make you feel more confident, boost your mood and sharpen concentration. Your libido may also naturally increase and you may find yourself feeling more extroverted than usual.
How to stay active: This is a great time to try something new! Maybe you’ve been meaning to try zumba or sign up for a boot camp session, try a hip hop class with a friend or tango with your partner, or even start a new exercise routine! Now is a great time to mix exercise with your social life as you’ll be feeling extra positive and energetic, helping you get the most out of your workout.
Day 14: Ovulation
The hormone estrogen will be at its peak during this time of your cycle, so you’ll likely be feeling and looking great!
How to stay active: A good time for lots of physical activity including high intensity interval training workouts, cardio, long hikes and running. Ride the high and make use of all the energy you have, exercise will only make everything feel better.
Day 14-28: The Luteal Phase
The first half of this phase is generally smooth sailing but as the second half arrives, you'll begin to experience some PMS symptoms as your hormones begin to change again and ‘progesterone’ makes a come back.
How to stay active: During the first half of this phase, engage in aerobic and cardio-focused workouts that help improve your mood, reduce inflammation and bloating and boost blood circulation. While in the second half, try more relaxed or low impact workouts like strength training, yoga or pilates. By anticipating the beginning of your next period with cardio exercise, you’ll reduce the severity of your symptoms, helping you feel a lot better by day 1.
Of course, the date ranges aren’t exactly the same for everyone and each woman will be different when it comes to the exercises she prefers. Although, as you learn to better track your menstrual cycle, you can use this article as a helpful guide to fitness as you ride the wave of each phase!