Working out while on your period may make you want to retire your running shoes for good? If you’re concerned about how your period will affect your fitness routine, you’re not alone.
For many reasons, a lot of people skip their workouts during this time of the month. But there’s really no reason to skip out on exercise just because you have your period.
The best exercises to do on your period
The first few days of your period may be the most uncomfortable, especially if you tend to bleed a lot during this time. That’s why a focus on gentle movements and exercises should top your list of activities.
John Thoppil, OB-GYN, said the best exercise during your period is the one you feel like doing. That said, he stressed the importance of varying your workouts during this week. He also pointed out that your period may be a good time to reduce your exercise intensity. With that in mind, here are a few ideas for exercise while on your period.
Light walking or other light cardio
Keep your cardiovascular or aerobic exercise at a lower intensity or back off on the amount you do. Consider light cardio, walking, or shorter bouts of aerobic exercise. There’s research supporting the idea that your lungs work better later in your cycle, so consider keeping that type of training for the end of your period.
The physical and mental benefits of exercise don’t stop just because you have your period. In fact, sticking with a routine can actually help ease some of the common complaints that accompany menstruation.
Just like certain activities may be more appropriate to participate in during your period, there are also some exercises you may want to avoid. That said, many women will be able to continue with their normal exercise routine with just some minor adjustments.
In general, Marcello said you should reduce training stress and volume during this time. “This doesn’t mean to stop training — to the contrary, this just means to cut back a little bit,” he explained.
If you’re feeling unusually tired, you may want to cut back on intense cardiovascular or endurance-type training. “During this time many women report experiencing an increase in rate of perceived exertion, so exercises moderately difficult feel much more difficult during this time,” explained Marcello. He said it’s also ideal to eliminate skill and precision training during these few days.
Regular exercise is beneficial for your body and your mind. There’s no scientific reason you should skip out on your workouts during your period. In fact, there’s evidence that exercise can be helpful during this time.
The bottom line is this: Continue with exercise, but back off on the intensity, especially if you’re feeling fatigued. Vary your workouts, take extra time to recover, and honor what you’re capable of.