Menstruation is actually a biological process that is controlled by how the body produces and regulates hormones. Exercising can be physically demanding on the body so it could affect your menstrual cycle and hormone levels in different ways. Read on to know more.
Menstruation or menstrual period generally last for three to five days. The first day of your period would mark the first day of the menstrual cycle and for many women this normally lasts for 28 to 32 days. The levels of estrogen hormone will increase in the first half of your cycle.
Additional hormone changes will cause one of the ovaries to discharge an egg that would travel to the uterus or womb for fertilization. In the event that the egg is not fertilized, your hormone levels will drop as the egg degenerates and menstruation starts.
How Does a Regular Workout Affect Your Menstrual Cycle?
Too little exercise:
If you have a sedentary lifestyle and your daily routine includes little or no exercise, you are likely to experience painful, long and irregular menstruation cycles. You are also more likely to have irregular periods if you are overweight or obese.
Research shows that menstruating females who are doing moderate exercises on a regular basis usually have less extreme and shorter cycles. Simply put, regular exercising will lead to regular menstruation. You can get relief from cramps if you are doing stretching exercises, cardiovascular activities and resistance training during your menstrual cycle. You could also benefit from doing fitness classes which includes dancing water aerobics, Pilates or yoga.
Moderate physical activities might actually improve a number of the severe side effects that women experience during menstruation. These include side effects such as uterine cramping, back pain, nausea and vomiting.
Too much exercise can put excessive amount of stress on your body to produce the regular hormones that is needed to complete a menstrual cycle. Menstruation is important because it is connected to reproduction. When you exercise, your body will go in a survival mode and might shut down unnecessary functions such as menstruation to help save energy and keep your body going in its current condition. Your body will actually hold unto every ounce of energy that it can to allow the vital functions to perform properly.
It is also important to know that intense physical activity and a lower caloric intake can cause your period to stop. This condition is called amenorrhea and it occurs more frequently in menstruating females who take part in extreme fitness, distance running or bodybuilding, but it can also develop in persons who participate in various other sports which emphasize slimness, like figure skating, gymnastics and ballet.
In general, women who suffer from amenorrhea experiences a continuous energy deficit that ultimately leads to the hypothalamus to suppress the discharge of hormones which regulates the ovarian function.
If your ovaries fail to discharge an egg for fertilization, this will put a stop to your period. A woman’s body is expected to menstruate until pregnancy or menopause, so you should take care of yourself to avoid amenorrhea. Furthermore, it is important to menstruate every month because this is the time when the uterine lining sheds.
Studies show that most women experience a total absence of menstruation whenever their body fat levels drop below twenty percent. Besides that, women with twenty to twenty-five percent of body fat are more likely to have problems with irregular menstruation.
For optimal health, you should know about the effects that exercise can have on your menstrual cycle, whether you have a sedentary or an active lifestyle. Talk to your doctor today if you think that exercising is causing you to experience menstrual irregularities such as missed periods.