Life is good. You’ve been training hard, eating well, and getting enough sleep.
Quite simply, you’re crushing it.
And then that inevitable week that always comes once a month comes yet again.
Ugh. You want to keep hitting the gym and crushing your workouts...but, should you exercise while on your period? Can you work out on your period? Is it even a good idea?
Can I Exercise While on my Period?
The first few days of our period can be rough, especially the days leading up to it. We feel achy, moody, uncomfortable, and honestly frustrated to be going through this again.
As strange as it may seem to exercise, it’s actually one of the best things we can do, both mentally and physically. Let’s see why.
Benefits of Training on Your Period
Let’s be honest.
When you’re on your period, you feel like a modern-day Grendel -- wanting to hide in a cave with a heating pad eating chocolate and watching mindless (but enjoyable) movies like Centerstage.
You certainly do not want to be around others and the last thing you want to do is get up, let alone work out.
But, also to be honest, you know that moving around and weight-lifting or doing cardio actually makes you feel better.
So, when you feel depressed and want to lay down, choose instead to get up and start a work out.
When you are angry at the world for having to use the restroom yet again, use that anger in a kickboxing class. The simple fact is that we can use our symptoms to our advantage!
We can help alleviate the pain from cramps NOT with a heating pad, but rather by creating our own body heat from raising our heart rate from working out.
We can take our frustration not by binging Hallmark movies, but by harnessing our frustration into an amazing punch or kick!
We wouldn’t settle for pounding down empty calories of chocolate, but we can wash away our misery with cold dark chocolate protein shakes after a solid workout. Then we can unwind in a shower after knowing that we kicked ass in our workout while still on our period.
It is empowering, ladies.
It is time we put an exclamation point on our period. Period.
Now, I know you’re thinking that bloating is that one thing that is inevitable, and there is really nothing we can do about it while on our period.
Studies show that doing exercise can alter certain hormones in your body which can lower edema (aka bloating and swelling). So while the bros can choose to work out to get their “swole on” we can use it to get our “swole off.” (you know what I mean).
But let’s make sure we’re also realistic. If working out can reduce our bloating, it means that one must work out first in order to get that result (i.e. wear your baggy gym clothes that day and not your super cute tight shorts and sports bra :)
So if you are like me, sleeping is the one thing you want to do while on your period. I want above all else to be comfortable. And although I hope for a nap here or there, the truth is that the actual bedtime sleep can suffer (probably because of my effort to get a nap during the day, but who knows).
The reality is that being in pain and being uncomfortable make it tough to get a good night’s sleep while on our period. We are essentially distracted all night, and we toss and turn and try crazy things to get ourselves comfortable in the night.
Solution: working out!
See, working out during the day helps our bodies burn energy. If we lift weights, for instance, our muscles are actually being torn and need time and sleep to recover. Basically, if we work out during the day, our bodies will want to sleep at night as much as our hearts and minds will.
So why not get the whole body in it together?
Sleep is important in so many ways, and during our periods when everything seems to be out of sorts, having a good night's sleep is definitely a plus.
And, if you need extra help unwinding, relaxing, or drifting off to sleep at night, check out Beauty Dream PM.
Our top-rated women’s sleep formula contains natural ingredients that help promote feelings of calm and relaxation. And let’s face it. We could all use that on our period.
Get a Rush of Endorphins
Who doesn’t want to feel happy during her period?
So we all know that working out gives endorphins. As one Elle Woods once said “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t kill their husbands. They just don’t.”
Husbands aside, we know that working out provides our bodies with endorphins and that those endorphins are supposed to help us be happy. For me, I will take whatever I can to be happier on my period. So endorphins from working out: sign me up.
Build Muscle & Strength
Did you know that during your first two weeks of your menstrual cycle (basically your PMS week and your period week) your hormones are lower (the progesterone and estrogen).
So, how does that help us?
So basically, when our hearts and minds are feeling in shambles and hormonally all over the place, our muscles are actually prime to get stronger! We can actually push ourselves more and find ourselves getting those “gains” we all know about.
So although we feel mentally drained and emotionally exhausted, if we work out during those times, our bodies will feel stronger and more muscular. Sounds like a deal. If I cannot feel strong, I will at least sign up for looking strong.
Best Exercises to Do While on Your Period
Of course! We just found out that due to our hormone imbalance, we will have the ability to lift more and gain more muscle strength. So why not? Get your weighted squat on. Vary it up with some shoulder presses, incline presses and bicep curls (curls for the girls indeed).
Walking or Light Cardio
So, in addition to wearing out your muscles by lifting weights (which if done properly will only last at most an hour) what should you do with your remaining hours in the day?
Walking is a great way to socialize and catch up with people while also feeling productive and healthy. In regard to your period, walking takes away some of that pain in the moment while also helping you feel fresher by simply being outside (if you are using a treadmill, you may not feel the freshness but the walking is still advantageous). Walking or light jogging is definitely a plus. It will give your body the movement it needs to deal with the pain and discomfort of being on your period.
Yoga, Pilates, Stretching
Ah… those morning stretches that help get your mind and body right. Those still work even in the midst of your period. In fact, I have personally felt their alleviating effect on my body cramps during that week. Movement and stretching are great ways to get your body flexible and strong while dealing with the pain and discomfort that comes.
Listen, periods suck.
But it doesn’t mean that they have to suck the life out of us. By working out, we can take more control over the symptoms and the week. In addition to working out, there are other things we can do in regard to supplements. For instance, we’ve created a product specifically designed to help us combat our symptoms like bloating, cramping and moodiness. Below is more specific information on how it can help us not only combat period symptoms, but also improve our skin. Lovely!
Hormone Support Plus is a 5-IN-1 formula made specifically for women to address menstrual regulation, PMS and fertility support, stress and mood support as well as skin hydration and complexion support.
- Samadi Z, Taghian F, Valiani M. The effects of 8 weeks of regular aerobic exercise on the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome in non-athlete girls. Iran J Nurs Midwifery Res. 2013;18(1):14-19.
- Wikström-Frisén, L. (2016). Training and hormones in physically active women with and without oral contraceptive use.