July 13, 2017
For the first few years of my fitness journey, I didn’t work out at all during the week of my period. With uncomfortable pains, the bloated feeling, and general irritation, I didn’t see the point in getting any exercise in. Additionally, it’s not like I gained any weight by not exercising for a week, because I still ate healthily for the most part. About two years ago, I started looking into what kind of workouts should be done without being excruciatingly painful, and what can actually help minimize said pain. With that in mind, here is what I complied.
Drink more water than usual
If you’re already into the fit lifestyle, you likely drink plenty of water. While I personally don’t measure 8 cups a day to consume, I drink a lot of tea and water, and not a lot of juice and milk. During my period, I especially make sure to consume more water. Although most women only lose a couple tablespoons of blood, uterine lining, etc during their periods, that is still water your body no longer has. Therefore, you should take care to enjoy more of that liquid goodness in order to prevent soreness and minimize cramps.
This piece of advice varies from woman to woman, as our periods act upon our bodies uniquely. But for me, cardio is Hell. My breasts get sore from my body’s motions and my stomach cramps intensify. Staying still during your period doesn’t actually help, either. But for me, cardio exercises are not the way to go.
Consider Yoga as an alternative to cardio
Most yoga routines are slower moving than cardio, especially gentle yoga and nighttime ones. While intensive yoga does exist, the lower impact ones may be more suitable during your period week. However, if you can handle intense routines and body contortions, go for it!
Strength train to ease cramps
Abdominal strength training routines can ease stress in said area due to the slow contraction and release of those muscles. If overly fatigued, consider body weight variations of strength exercises to still get the benefits without overexerting yourself.
Make Sure to Eat Clean
Avoid excess salts, sugars, fats, etc. Many of us get strong cravings during our period, and we must have the willpower to overcome them. Avoid overly salty foods like chips and crackers, and opt for salted popcorn instead. There’s a lot less sodium per bag–because let’s be honest, we’re going to eat that entire bag when on our periods–and in turn, a lot less bloating and guilt. Eat dark chocolate in place of milk chocolate or other sugary snacks. The dark chocolate is a source of magnesium, a necessary nutrient, and a few pieces go a long way, as it’s a rather filling treat.
Not everyone can exercise during their period due to the intensity of their pains. But if your cramps aren’t as bad, or you have the mental fortitude to withstand the period pains, I wish you the best from one woman to another.