Once a month, I have a totally valid and acceptable excuse to skip a workout, that my boyfriend will simply never be able to use.
Yep, it's my period.
From abdominal cramps, to nausea, to back pain, to bloating... Aunt Flo can be a real b*tch.
But for all the times I just want to lay in bed with a loaf of bread and sob at The Notebook, there are an equal amount of times where I really want to go and slay my workout, despite the pain.
A woman named Kiran Gandhi recently ran the London Marathon while she was on her period... sans tampon.
Her goal was to raise awareness for women who don't have access to feminine care products -- and she did just that, crossing the finish line, blood stains and all.
Gandhi, you are a goddess, and I worship you. And if you can kill 26.2 miles while you're menstruating, then I can certainly power through my ab circuit.
Studies show that exercise might be an effective PMS treatment. And, while we don't have any solid evidence that bicep curls cure breast tenderness, there are certain exercises that have proven to be effective at keeping those pesky symptoms at bay.
Here are six workouts to make that time of the month a little more bearable.
While this may seem tame compared to your weekly SoulCycle, walking is a pretty effective form of cardio, and great for period pains.
Research shows that walking reduces risk of hypertension, high cholesterol, and diabetes, while simultaneously improving cardiovascular health.
Basically, a good walk will get the blood flowing in your body and combat that overall yucky feeling you get when you're on your period.
So lace up your shoes, and bring a friend along for this low-intensity exercise. The fresh air will help if you experience headaches, and it'll feel nice to get some movement in.
While a jog might be the last thing on your mind, the endorphins released during a solid cardio sesh will do wonders for your fatigue.
So, if you feel up to it, pull up a killer playlist and hit the pavement.
Always remember to hydrate, though. According to Everyday Health, fluids are essential when you're on your period.
A gentle yoga flow is perfect to soothe symptoms of that other flow you're currently experiencing.
However, many yoga instructors will recommend you not get upside down during your time of the month.
Consider saving the headstands for post leak-week (Don't judge me... I literally looked up period slang and couldn't help but include it).
Some call that time of the month "the red sea." I mean, I don't... But hey, I might just start.
So, it's pretty fitting that a nice dip in the pool might just be the #cure you're looking for.
Swimming is easy on the joints, and it reduces cramps while soothing back pain.
Oh, and side note -- that old wives' tale that you'll get eaten by a shark if you go in the ocean is a total myth.
If you want to hit up the beach, go live your life, girl.
Woah. I know what you're thinking. Calm down.
I can barely convince myself to do HIIT on a normal day, let alone when there's blood coming out of my vagina.
But, according to Health.com, the shift in your hormones makes overall fuel more accessible to your body, so it actually might be the optimal time to take on Tabata.
Your body will let you push harder and actually get more out of intense intervals, as opposed to when your estrogen levels are higher.
So if your symptoms aren't too savage, try it out.
And if they are, opt for the elliptical and some essential oils.
6. Strength Training
Though you might want to reach for the lighter set of weights because of womanly woes, your estrogen levels are actually lowest during this time, making it optimal for strength training.
I don't know about you, but if I'm ever suffering from annoying back pain, a little time in the weight room seems to ease the tension.
So, give it a try. That feeling of power after an amazing lift is sure to boost your mood.