For many women, menstruation can be an uncomfortable week - mentally and physically. Because of this, many women are unsure of how they should exercise their body during this sensitive period of the month. Below we unpack some myths and commonly asked questions about working out during one’s cycle.
Can I train during menstruation?
Yes, it is safe to train while menstruating. For those with medical conditions such as iron anemia, it is advised to take it easier than usual because the lack of iron in your blood can cause dizziness, nausea, and sometimes blackouts. However, mild to moderate exercises are recommended for general well being and improved blood circulation.
Does training worsen my period pain?
Generally, no. The psychological factor plays a big part in this. For those who normally suffer from period pain, you will likely have the pain, regardless of whether you move or not. With that being said, it is best to honour how you feel and alter your workout regime to best suit how you are mentally and physically feeling while menstruating.
Will I burn more calories during my period?
It is true that one’s resting metabolic rate fluctuates more during menstruation. Theoretically, you could say that you burn slightly more calories working out while you are on your period, compared to when you are not. However, there is not enough of a dramatic difference in calorie burning for it to impact your weight.
What is the best way to workout while menstruating?
Regular training throughout the month is encouraged, including during menstruation as it promotes better blood and lymphatic circulation and can help to reduce the chance of muscle cramps. The best thing to do during your period is to listen to, and support your body’s needs. This can mean lowering the intensity of your training, taking an extra rest day, or incorporating more restorative exercises such as yin yoga, meditation, or a scenic walk.
What are some exercises to avoid while working out?
High intensity workouts where your heart rate dramatically spikes and forces you to sweat excessively should be avoided. Some examples of these include 1hr+ hot yoga or intense CrossFit training.
In short, menstruation does not need to stop you from working out all together, nor does it require you to dramatically alter your workout practice. However, it is a sensitive period where there are many hormonal changes happening in your body. Therefore, one should take the time to tune in, listen to your body’s changing needs, and honour them.