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Workout During Menses - Should You Do it?

Dr. Radhika Kandula 91% (112 ratings)
MBBS, DNB (Obstetrics and Gyneacology), FNB Reproductive Medicine
Gynaecologist, Kolkata  •  17 years experience
Workout During Menses - Should You Do it?

Should you be hitting your gym during your ‘time of the month’ that is during your periods? This is a very common query and is presently a debatable issue. However, after weighing the various pros and cons, it has been concluded that working out during your periods is actually a good thing.

How work out during menses is helpful?

Exercising helps in beating the uncomfortable and painful cramps in the lower abdomen and helps in relieving fatigue, headaches and malaise. Exercising also helps in regulating blood flow, preventing clots. Working out also helps in sweating out the excess water retention or bloating that occurs during the premenstrual period. It keeps unnecessary weight gain in check. Exercise also helps in the steady flow of feel good hormones, scientifically termed as endorphins. This helps in improving mood, significantly making menstruating women happier and feeling positive.

It's a myth

In fact, there may be benefits to exercising on your period, including reduced cramps and higher pain tolerance. Additionally, the hormonal changes don’t impact your strength or endurance. So although you may feel tired, heading to the gym might make you feel better. Plus, we all know that exercise releases endorphins that cause happiness, so you’ll probably feel a bit cheerier after your workout as well.

If you feel really ill or have extreme cramps, don’t force yourself to exercise. Sometimes when your body is asking for rest, it’s because all it really needs to recover is a bit of rest.

If you’re still not sure about working out, try doing some low-impact exercise for the days you’re on your cycle, and switch back to heavier work when you’re off.

Use the right protection:

Generally, one of the biggest concerns for working out while on your period is "what if I leak?" Although you will be moving your body in ways that might cause more of a flow, you can use the right tools to keep your menstrual cycle out of view. Opt for using a menstrual cup or a tampon rather than pads or panty liners; these options will trap the blood before it leaves your body, making it less likely to leak. If you’re still concerned, double up your protection by using a menstrual cup or tampon with a panty liner.

  • Menstrual cups are much better at preventing leaks than tampons are, but their application may not be comfortable for everyone.
  • Insert a new tampon just prior to exercising, so that you’ll have a better chance of being leak-free.

Here are 4 exercises you can explore during your periods:

  1. Aerobics: If you don’t feel enthusiastic about performing at your usual intensity, try some simpler aerobic exercises like running on a treadmill, Pilates, etc. If you play any games, continuing your sports during periods is a good idea.
  2. Yoga: By trying some breathing and relaxation exercises, you can reduce the stress and tension, in both mind and body. There are yoga postures that have been created specifically for the abdomen that can soothe painful muscles.
  3. Lift Weights: If you don’t feel like moving around much, try lifting weights during your periods. You can burn calories even when at rest. Work out all major muscle groups. You can do smaller sets with lighter weights.
  4. Swim: Swimming during periods is not impossible. You can wear a tampon and take a dip, whether it is to swim laps or just to float around. The water will make you feel lighter and you’ll feel fresh too. Change your protection before and after the swim.

Take home message:
There is only one real rule for working out during your period: Listen to yourself. If you are cramping in a major way, listen to your body and take the day off. Push yourself to exercise but don’t push yourself too hard.

4276 people found this helpful