I have a client who I work with monthly and there’s always one week out of each month where she struggles with energy and motivation to work out.
And I totally relate.
One study found that 80% of women experience period pain.
Our bodies change so much week-to-week during our monthly cycle.
It’s actually pretty incredible.
But nevertheless, those changes (both physical & chemical) have a major effect on the way we feel & the way we move.
So it’s perfectly normal to notice a shift in your mood & energy levels during certain weeks out of the month.
OVER 150 SYMPTOMS…
Cramps & bloating usually take the front seat of annoying symptoms we experience during our periods but did you know that there are over 150 different symptoms!?
Swollen, painful breasts
Lack of focus & concentration
And the list goes on!
So it’s quite understandable why getting a workout in may be much more of a struggle during that week or so of your period.
BENEFITS OF MOVEMENT DURING THIS TIME
Before going any further, know this: every single person is different. It is best to do what works best for YOU. Do whatever you can tolerate & what you enjoy.
Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of published research on how exercise affects our bodies from a week-to-week basis during our cycle.
But from the research that has been done, there is some evidence that, in general, the right kind of exercise does have many positive effects on the body during the female menstrual cycle.
Notice I said the RIGHT kind of exercise. Read through the guidelines below to see what kind of exercise your body needs on a week-to-week basis.
The female menstrual cycle is broken up into 4 different phases:
Menstruation (your period)
*Be gentle with your body during this time.
*The first two days may be the toughest.
*Rest if you need to.
*Exercise Examples: Walking, bike riding, swimming, yoga, pilates, light strength training (if you’re feeling okay!!)
Follicular (a week or so after your period)
*Kick it up a notch!
*Exercise Examples: Power-walking, elliptical, light strength training, dancing
*The time to give it all you got!
*Exercise Examples: Jogging, kickboxing, strength training, hiking.
Premenstrual/Luteal (when PMS starts, week or so before your period)
*Time to slow it down.
*Don’t get frustrated if you can’t do what you did last week.
*Break out the yoga mat.
*Exercise Examples: Walking, bike riding, swimming, yoga, pilates, light strength training
Following this outline for your workouts throughout the month can help to alleviate some unpleasant symptoms AND can keep your mental state in check.
WORK WITH YOUR BODY, NOT AGAINST IT.
A lot of women feel like a failure when one week they have SO much energy and motivation and then the next they can’t seem to get it together…It could just be your cycle and hormonal changes.
Try scheduling your workouts according to the outline above.
RISKS OF MOVEMENT DURING THIS TIME
With all of that said, there ARE certain limitations to be aware of.
And you should respect those limitations.
Remember all of those symptoms we talked about earlier? Well, that can be stressful. And you don’t want to put a lot of extra stress on your body during menstruation.
Avoid high-intensity workouts.
Avoid long workouts.
Avoid lifting heavy weights.
Avoid pushing yourself too hard or too far.
Not the time to break records!
*This should all be done during the follicular/ovulation stages.
IF YOU ARE FEELING VERY FATIGUED / NAUSEAOUS / DIZZY / LIGHTHEADED…Skip all workouts and rest.
Workout at home for maximum comfort.
Choose appropriate hygiene products.
Avoid tight clothing.
Stay hydrated. (This is even more important during menstruation!*)
Choose nutrient-dense foods.
Stay on top of your vitamin/mineral supplements.
It is VITAL that at every stage of your journey, you should listen to YOUR body, do only what you can do, respect your limitations, and modify all workouts wherever necessary.
No content on this site should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinicians.