Some people claim that exercising during your cycle might be a bad idea. Oh, how quickly their fears evolved from “moderation” to “avoid at all costs!” But is this the truth?
Our hormones play a significant role in defining our energy levels and comfort during our cycle. Most women experience low energy and discomfort caused by hormonal changes.
However, some women feel some sort of adrenaline rush. They feel more energetic, lively, and always on the go. This only goes to show that women feel differently during their cycle.
Nonetheless, there are things that you ought to consider during these times.
It’s important to remember that each stage of the menstrual cycle is distinct and has its symptoms. There are differences in how you feel at various stages of your cycle and how a workout will impact you.
Now, before we discuss if it’s safe to exercise at any stage of your cycle, let’s first identify the different stages of your cycle.
Most women might refer to a cycle as their actual red days, but a complete cycle includes 4 phases/stages. (Yes! On average, that’s 28 days in total!)
Here are the stages in a woman’s cycle:
- Menstruation, or the menstrual phase: The first part of your cycle refers to the time between your last period and when you start your next period. The menstrual phase is when you bleed from inside your uterus.
- Follicular phase: This is the second part of your cycle, and it lasts from day one until ovulation (when an egg is released). During this time, hormones are preparing for ovulation by thickening the lining in your uterus.
- Ovulation is when an egg gets released from one of your ovaries into fallopian tubes, where sperm can fertilize it.
- Luteal Phase: This stage follows immediately after ovulation until the next month’s period starts again around day 21–28 after conception occurred (if it did). This is also the stage where sticky discharge appears.
Now, the question is, is it bad to exercise while on your period? The answer is no.
No scientific basis says that you should skip workouts at any stage during your cycle. There’s even proof that exercise can be healthy during this time. How do you see active women if exercise is not good when you have your “red days.”
Women athletes sure have enough experience in doing strenuous workouts even if they have their monthly flow. But they still do fine.
Always remember that you still have to assess yourself before doing heavy physical activities. One exercise may be good for the others, but it does not mean it will also work for you. You may feel differently, but it is not your fault.
Your body can only do so much and only responds to your physical capability. No fuss. Just listen to your body and rest if you may.
Exercising during the menstruation phase comes with its own set of challenges. You’ll likely feel cramping in your abdomen and exhaustion and dehydration from sweating so much (especially if it’s hot outside). But these symptoms are fleeting and will pass within a few hours after exercising, so don’t let them prevent you from continuing your routine!
The bottom line is to continue to exercise but cut back on the extreme movement, especially if you’re tired. Save the high-intensity activities for regular days and opt for low-intensity activities like walking or yoga.
There are many benefits to working out during each stage in your cycle:
- It helps regulate hormone levels and stabilize mood swings
- It reduces stress by releasing endorphins into our bodies
- Exercise helps strengthen pelvic floor muscles
Science explains the differences in energy levels during different stages of the menstrual cycle. Generally speaking, women tend to feel fatigued during their period and around the time of ovulation due to reproductive hormones that disrupt the body’s resting metabolism by increasing it during menstruation and decreasing it at ovulation.
You’ll also notice that most women (probably including yourself) have increased cravings for carbohydrates and sweets at this stage. Scientists believe this is due to fluctuating hormones, and the cravings are women’s bodies’ coping mechanisms for low energy levels.
And while you feel like you can handle anything at any time, remember that if you’re feeling sluggish or tired, that is your body telling you to rest and take it easy. Divert your attention to something else, or better yet, take a good nap. Rest.
To sum up, you can exercise at any stage of your cycle. You only need to be mindful of discomfort and respond or rest accordingly. Take a little breather and recharge your batteries. That is the nature of a woman’s body. You will experience this until around 50, so get used to it. During this time, it is better to use your energy to make yourself comfortable. You are a woman, and you sure have a long day ahead.