For most of us, periods spell three to seven days of doom. It is difficult to get any work done due to our mental frustration and physical pain. At least for the first two days of her period, any girl would choose to gladly curl up in a soft bed all day long, and nibble on chocolate. In this scenario, working out or exercising would seem like a monstrous proposition. However, exercising during your periods is not only possible, but also beneficial for your body.
HELLO SWEATING, GOODBYE BLOATING
During your period, your body tends to retain water. This leads to bloating and discomfort. To combat this, exercise proves to be a blessing in disguise. When you sweat out naturally, your body loses the retained water and flushes out extra sodium.
ENDORPHINS VERSUS PMS
When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain. Endorphins also trigger a positive feeling in the body, similar to that of morphine. This is why they are called happy hormones. Thus, exercising will help you get distracted from the painful cramps and the gloomy sentiments.
Exercise helps in easing off muscular cramps due to the increase in blood flow within the body. Exercising has been proven to reduce depression, irritability and other symptoms caused by periods such as headaches, nausea, and insomnia. Exercise helps you sweat out toxins, which benefits your body and also keeps your skin clear and glowing. Walking or exercising regularly, especially pelvic rocking exercises, might help you avoid Dysmenorrhea, which is the medical term for excessively painful periods.
AT THE COST OF METABOLISM
During each menstrual cycle, the female body experiences changes in hormonal balance. For about two weeks before the first day of your period, your female hormones- oestrogen and progestogen- are at their peak. This means your moods are off the charts and physically you feel sluggish since your metabolism is slowed down by the heightened hormones. This implies delayed sweat response because the body uses fat as its primary source of energy instead of carbs. Hormones soar, and your energy dips.
The extra chocolates, cheese, and sodas that you consume to satisfy your cravings also satisfy your fat cells. These extra calories that you consume need to be burnt off at the earliest. Since your metabolic rate is slow, you might as well make an extra effort to maintain your shape.
THE COOL FACTOR
During periods, your body tends to maintain a cooler temperature than usual. You can use this to your advantage. You can work out harder and push your body a bit more than usual until it reaches its point of fatigue. This will in turn, boost your fitness levels.
During (and one week after) your period, your female hormones are at their lowest. Your body is free of the worry of preparing itself for a possible pregnancy. Research shows, that a woman is more tolerant of pain during this time. Your work out during a period might just be easier for you than any other day. So you may not feel like it, but your body is capable enough to persevere and perspire. Go on, challenge yourself, and reap the benefits.
Maintaining your daily routine, which includes exercising, will make your body feel normal. You don’t need to let your body think that it is weak or unwell. If you are up and about, your mind and body will also feel cheerful and upbeat. Exercising will also mean a change of scene. You will move out of your bedroom and walk around the park or visit the gym. This will act as a breather and calm your mind.
Things to keep in mind:
While it is mentioned that exercising during periods is good for your body, you need to be cautious. Your body is in a sensitive mode and you need not give it too much trouble. Listen to your body and adjust accordingly. Work out in a proper way, for only the appropriate amount of time which your body allows you to. Do not over exert or force your body to do anything. Walking, light aerobics, dancing, stretching, light weight training, and simple yoga poses are good for your body during periods. Do NOT do HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), squats, sprints, box jumps, or intense (or inverted- body) yoga postures. Consult your trainer or doctor and make sure you are working out to benefit your body, not harm it. Be smart, be healthy.