I get it – periods make you feel…less sexy, less lean, rather bloated and rather unbecoming in your gym spank pants. I know, when it’s that TOM it is so easy to give in to those few extra rows of chocolate and let the appeal of the gym fall to a negative. Our hormones also make it exceedingly difficult to motivate us into action.
Yes you feel tired, irritable, and the action of moving from the couch to your fridge is about as much enthusiasm you can muster for your exercise. But while exercise can be the last thing on your mind, it will most likely help to relieve symptoms of cramping, lower back pain and that horrible water retention that protrudes your belly.
Here’s a little exercise cheat guide to get you through your cycle:
1. Suffer from lower back pain?
Swim! Swimming allows you to become ‘weightless’ and helps you move more comfortably. It goes without saying that your best accessory apart from a super slimming black onesy is your TOM tampons!
Pilates is also brilliant for lower back issues – and given the plethora of video bloggers out there – just push away the furniture, tune into youtube and let one of the experts guide you through a few simple but effective Pilates strength moves. I find this girl good fun.
2. Chronic Bloating?
Anyone for a game of yoga?
While controversy abounds as to whether one should be inverting and downward dogging whilst menstruating, just practice what feels right. For me, slowly stretching out tired, cramped abdominals through back bends and twists are a perfect remedy for when you are tired, irritable and generally pissy.
My personal favorite yoga poses for menstrual pain are:
- Cat Pose, to help align your breathing and movement and to assist back pain and pelvic tension.
- Cobra Pose, or other gentle backbends, can alleviate back pain and pelvic discomfort.
- Wind Relieving Pose – let’s be honest that TOM causes us to build up a lot of ‘stomach tension’ that just needs to be released. Note to self: don’t stand in proximity to anyone you care about.
3. Terrible/depressive PMS?
Take heart that there has been no evidence to suggest that your athletic prowess will be affected by your period. Indeed a West Virginia University study found that female runners performed equally well whether tested during the first half or second half of their menstrual cycles.
Your workout will also make you feel better. Trust me. Even if you opt for a great long walk. Working up a sweat when you have chronic PMS will ignite your endorphins, fend away fatigue and help give you that restorative nights sleep your body craves.
And if all this has prompted you to get off your butt and start moving (because I know my writing has that effect) I will just throw it out there that…your period might increase your chance of an injury…well that’s what some Aussie researchers discovered when they looked at the muscle movement of women on treadmills during ovulation compared to menstruation. In their findings they discovered that women had poorer motor control during menstruation. Which is a nice way of saying we were more accident-prone.
But let’s be honest…. who is going to run a marathon on a treadmill when they have their period?!
What about you girls? The TOM crew would LOVE to hear your thoughts on how you cave (if at all) during your period? Do you pick yourself up and carry on or give yourself permission to let it all go?
Holly McBride is a freelance journalist with an interest in living and eating healthily. As a certified fitness instructor and journalist she is prepared to read between the lines, to discover what truly is healthy for us vs. what we are fed to believe. For Holly, being healthy is oh so simple and incredibly sexy when done with ease. Holly’s blog healthywholeholly is a testament to health in an era of convenience – after all healthy eating is as easy as pie.