There have been a lot of myths over the years surrounding the idea of exercising during your period. Doctors today insist that it could actually be beneficial and help alleviate PMS symptoms.1 Yes, we know what you’re thinking. Who are these superhumans that decide to work out while the rest of us are crying, curled up in a fetal position with a tub of ice cream by our side? All we can say is, don’t knock it till you try it. Those who do so, swear by its positive effects on their monthly cycle.
If you are one of them, you can probably relate to these thoughts that go through every woman’s mind while working out on her period.
1. “Do I Really Have To Do This Today?”
Deciding to get out of bed and actually prepare to go to the gym or work out at home is the hardest part, especially with the cramps, mood swings, body pain, and bloating. Your rational mind is saying “yes” while every other part of your body is hysterically screaming “no!”. But you find the motivation to do it because you know you’ll feel much better afterward. This is because exercising releases endorphins that can actually help reduce pain. It also improves mood and helps you relax.2
2. “I’m Definitely Wearing All Black”
If deciding to get out of bed is the hardest part, deciding what to wear is definitely the easiest. Those white shorts can probably wait until next week. For now, black sweatpants and an over-sized shirt (also preferably a dark color) are your best friends. Loose clothing will let you avoid the discomfort of tight waistbands on a bloated stomach, and the dark clothing will help disguise any accidental leakage.
3. “If You Don’t Have Ovaries, Get Out Of My Way.”
It doesn’t matter if he’s hogging the treadmill or just breathing a little too loudly. With your anxiety and irritability, all men are safer giving you a 4-foot radius of personal space. But they can rest assured knowing that once you’re done with your workout, those endorphins will kick in, making you feel a little more amiable toward others.
4. “Everybody Definitely Knows”
You should definitely stretch before you workout but, anything involving bending over makes you feel like your butt is on display. And for some reason, you feel like everybody just knows. To make sure that you don’t actually announce it to everyone around you by leaking through your clothes, use the right menstrual products. There are plenty of options ranging from pads to tampons to menstrual cups. See what makes you feel comfortable while working out.
5. “I Am A Warrior”
This is about 10 minutes into the workout when you start to feel the burn. “Eye Of The Tiger” is probably playing in the background and you’re imagining yourself scaling Mount Everest, running across the Sahara desert, or vanquishing your enemies on a bloody(no pun intended) battlefield. Your mood peaks and you’re feeling good about yourself. Since exercise can also help reduce stress and anxiety, it explains why you feel better already.
6. “I’m Taking A Break In The Restroom To Cry Over Nothing”
It might be the fact that you couldn’t get that extra rep in or that adorable puppy in the Facebook video who couldn’t get down the stairs. Now you’re sobbing and have to pull yourself together so you can power through the rest of your routine before the prospect of giving up and going home seems far too inviting.
7. “How Long Before I Can Go Back To Bed?”
You’re counting down the minutes till you can get back into warm clean sheets and clutch your hot water bag. A hot bath can also help with the cramps if they appear again. You’re going to need some good old rest and relaxation once you are finished exercising. Your body needs to recuperate just as it would any other time of the month.
8. “If This Pool Was The Ocean I Could Re-enact Jaws Right Now”
You may have heard that sharks can smell 1 drop of blood in 25 gallons of water. If you’re swimming during that time of the month, it’s easy to see how this might trigger your imagination. No wonder it’s called shark week. If you do choose to swim on your period, it’s unlikely that you’ll see Jaws. What is likely, is that the water will help massage your back and stomach as you move through it, easing any pain you might be feeling. Just make sure to wear a tampon or menstrual cup which will collect the blood before it leaves your body. And change it soon after exiting the pool. Avoid wearing pads because they would absorb too much water and eventually leak.
9. “I NEED To Take A Shower NOW”
It’s normal to feel less than clean while on your period. This can get even worse just after a workout when you’re feeling sweaty, tired, and downright gross. You just want to get to the nearest shower and get squeaky clean again. Always remember to change your pad or tampon right after exercising. When washing down there, ditch the specialized soaps and washes. Your vagina is self-cleaning and it doesn’t need any help. Using soaps may upset the pH levels and wash out good bacteria that prevent infection. Good old warm water will do the job just fine.
10.”I Am Definitely A Warrior”
At the end of it all, you feel like you’ve moved a mountain. You did it! You powered through your routine like a champ. If you could get through all of that while on your period, what can’t you do? You’ll be feeling refreshed, happier and more relaxed thanks to the amazing effects of exercise.
Time to reward yourself with a well-deserved cozy bed with a hot water bag and Netflix. But maybe lay off the ice cream so that you don’t negate all that effort you just put in.
|↑1||Smith, Roger P., Andrew M. Kaunitz, Robert L. Barbieri, and V. A. Barss. “Treatment of primary dysmenorrhea in adult women.” UpToDate Web site (2014).|
|↑2||Safe Exercise For Women. American College of Sports Medicine.|