I don't know about you, but if someone asked me to hit up the gym during my period, I'd most likely laugh in their face and retreat into the warm sanctuary of my fuzziest blanket fort with a pint of Ben & Jerry's held close to my heart. And while there's nothing wrong with my menstrual self-care regimen (it's lit, let me tell you), I can't help but low-key wonder if moving my body a little might ease some of my more intolerable PMS symptoms. It turns out there are actually plenty of benefits of exercising during your period — if you can bring yourself to get up and do it, that is.
While every woman's period is totally different and unique to her, there's typically no harm whatsoever in moving your body — and dare I say, even sweating a little bit — during that time of the month. Of course, it's always in your best interest to listen to your own body and the cues it's giving you, and to consult with a doctor if your PMS symptoms are on the more extreme side. But if you've ever been concerned that working out might generally make your period feel worse, throw those worries out the window. The next time Aunt Flo comes to visit and you need something to get your mind off the cramps and the mood swings, try a few gentle exercises, and enjoy these six awesome benefits.
1. A Gentle Workout Might Combat Moody PMS Symptoms
It's such a struggle dealing with anxiety, irritability, and overall moodiness when you're menstruating. You can get upset by the smallest freaking thing, and when someone asks you why you're acting that way, you can't even explain it to yourself.
However, if you're feeling down during your period and your BFF asks you to hit up the weight room with her or go for a jog, it might actually make a world of difference if you take her up on the invitation. The endorphins that come from just a few minutes of exercise can be a great way to turn a bad mood around.
2. It'll Probably Soothe Those Brutal Cramps
If you tend to get debilitating cramps during your menstrual cycle, I feel for you, fam. It can feel like you're being kicked in the abdomen over and over again, and you wonder what on earth you did to deserve this.
According to U By Kotex, a little bit of exercise can go a long to help decrease water retention and increase blood circulation, which will both really soothe that dull, achy sensation in your lower back and belly area. Sounds like it's worth a shot, right?
3. You'll Actually Gain More Energy Overall
It's pretty common knowledge that going to your favorite workout class or squeezing in some cardio can instantly fight fatigue and leave you feeling incredibly energized.
This is especially true during your period, when you probably tend to feel super sluggish and generally blah for a whole damn week. So, if you're trying to choose between an extra shot of espresso or making some #gains, the latter might be your best bet for long-lasting energy.
4. You Could See A Natural Boost In Your Athletic Abilities
According to a 2017 study from Umeå Univeristy in Sweden, many women who work out during their period experience greater power, increased muscle mass, and more strength compared to when they work out during other times of the month when they're not menstruating. So, if you have a workout goal you've been aiming to achieve — a new year's resolution, perhaps? — this might just be the perfect incentive to keep you going, even when PMS is trying to hold you back.
5. You'll Have An Easier Time Keeping Cool — Literally
Your body does some pretty cool things when you're menstruating, and one of those is actually lowering your overall body temperature from head to toe. This means that you'll be more easily equipped to deal with ultra sweaty HIIT circuits or that hot yoga class that you absolutely love.
So when the dude next to you is sweating buckets and you're calm, cool, and collected, you can just bask in your unique and womanly powers that come with having a monthly period. Yeah, we out here.
6. You Can Experiment With New Forms Of Exercise
According to Health.com, when your estrogen and progesterone levels drop during your cycle, your glycogen stores are more readily available. This basically means that you'll be able to push harder in the gym and experiment with higher intensity and more fast-paced workouts.
If you're used to doing low-key exercises like restorative yoga or casual outdoor strolls, this could be the perfect time to mix things up and try out that kickboxing class you've been eyeing, squeeze in a new, super challenging HIIT circuit, or even hop in the pool and pump out some laps.
At times, hormonal shifts may seem like a terrible curse, but your body is actually looking out for you, girl. Don't be afraid to get moving. You might just feel like a million bucks after the fact.