Period pains are very common. Around 80% of women experience period pain at some point in their lives, and many women have stomach pains around the time of their period, every month from their mid-teens right through to menopause. Some women also have ovulation pain for a few days every month.
These pains range from relatively mild cramps, which are relieved with pain killers, hot water bottles and self-massage and don’t stop us from enjoying our normal routines, right up to the kind of pain that has you bent double and isn’t touched by over-the-counter pain relief. This kind of extreme pain is thought to affect between 5% and 10% of women.
Stomach pains are often accompanied by mood swings, swelling, fatigue, loss of appetite and other aches and pains. Most women are able to enjoy their normal life, but for that 5% to 10%, their periods render them unable to carry on with day-to-day life for days of every month.
However your pain and other symptoms affect you, you might be tempted to hide under a duvet with a hot water bottle, eat chocolates and binge-watch your favourite shows for comfort. This is understandable, but actually, exercise can be more effective.
The Benefits of Exercising During Your Period
There are plenty of benefits to exercising during your period. These include:
- Reduced pain
- Reduced swelling
- Improved mood
- Increased energy levels
Exercising also takes your mind off your pain and discomfort.
Know Your Pain
Before you work out, it’s important that you know your pain. Periods affect us all differently, and our symptoms can change as we get older, or as our hormone levels fluctuate. While there’s absolutely nothing to stop you from exercising when you are on your period, it’s important that you understand your body and your pain, and that you are able to recognise if your symptoms are the sign of a health problem and not just regular period pains.
If you have any worries about your period symptoms, flow, or other gynaecological concerns, see a doctor instead of expecting exercise to help. The Circle Health Group can offer diagnosis, treatment, and support for a wide range of gynaecology services. If you need to see someone in gynaecology to talk about any worries or concerns, get in touch with the Circle Health Group today.
The biggest worry most people have when it comes to exercising during their period is that they will leak. The truth is this is possible. While exercising, you are moving your body in different ways, and the physical exertion could affect your flow.
So, make sure you are prepared with spare sanitary products or double up with period pants, as well as a towel or tampon to reduce the risks.
Take Pain Killers
Exercise is a great pain reliever, but it’s not a miracle worker, and it can take a while to be effective. If you have severe pains, take paracetamol or other pain killers around 15-30 minutes before you work out to help you to feel your best.
Warm-Up and Cool Down
Warming up before exercising helps you to warm up your muscles and build your heart rate more slowly. This can help prevent injury, but it can also mean that you perform better. Stretching out afterwards helps to prevent aches and pains and makes it easier to come down after your workout. This can be more important during your period when your body might need more support.
Hydration is always important after exercise, but during your period, drinking plenty of water can also help to relieve stomach pains, backache, bloating and many other symptoms. Some research even suggests that drinking water could help your cycle to progress more quickly.
There might be days during your cycle when you really don’t fancy intense exercise, and that’s absolutely okay. Instead, try some gentle yoga practices which stretch out and ease aches and pains, and offer you comfort.
Take it Easy
When it comes to exercising during your period, we are all different, and every cycle, even every day, is different. There might be days when you’ve got loads of energy and you feel like you can really push yourself hard. But there might also be days when you can barely get out of bed. Listen to your body and give it what it needs. Go easy on yourself.
Go for a Walk
Often the best thing that you can do when you aren’t feeling your best is just drag yourself out for a walk. The fresh air and exercise will boost your mood and relieve any symptoms you might be feeling. But you don’t need to get changed or do anything special. Just walking out of your front door and around your block could make you feel much better.
Exercising during your period can be a great idea. Just take it easy, listen to your body and make sure you rehydrate well.