Is Working Out On Your Period Bad? It Depends On A Few Things
You know that quote that says, "I don't trust anything that bleeds for a week every month and doesn't die?" To be honest with you, I can't help but chuckle every time I read that saying, because it reminds me that us ladies are badass as hell, especially when it comes to anything and everything related to our menstrual cycles. Personally, I feel especially hardcore when I'm able to squeeze in at least one sweat sesh during my time of the month. But sometimes, in between burpees, I low-key start to wonder, is working out on your period bad for you in any way?
While some women could hardly even imagine hitting the gym while their uterus is literally throbbing, and their boobs are more sensitive than your ex who won't stop liking your pics from three years ago, other gals swear by sweating it out when it comes time for Aunt Flo to pay them a visit.
When it comes down to it, though, whether you hit up SoulCycle during your own cycle is totally a matter of personal preference.
But if you feel up to it, working out on your period actually isn't bad for you at all.
It might seem absurd to hit the weight room when you're bloated and moody AF, but working out during your time of the month can actually relieve many of those annoying symptoms. Plus, if you already have a consistent workout schedule, and you're an active person overall, your period symptoms will become less intense over time, and the flow might even get lighter and more manageable. If that's not an inspiration not to snooze your alarm for an early morning sweat sesh, I don't know what is.
And, if you tend to be a victim of bloating during your time of the month, sweating it out during your cycle causes water to leave your body, which in turn leads to less bloating for you. Can I get a collective "yassss" over here?!
If that's not enough to convince you, remember what exercise does in general for the body, regardless of whether or not you're on your period. Those feel-good endorphins that come with working out can distract you and take your mind off of any discomfort -- especially the kind that comes with your flow -- and they can reduce levels of stress and anxiety, which are said to increase menstrual cramps.
Still, when given the choice between exercise and laying in bed to eat whatever leftovers you're lucky enough to discover in your fridge, I'm fully aware that most of you would choose the latter with no hesitation, because you're a grown-ass woman who deserves some TLC. And believe me, I aggressively support your decision to do so.
But hear me out for just a second, because this research might actually surprise you. A study done at the Umeå University revealed exercising during the first two weeks of your menstrual cycle can actually optimize your workout results.
So if your friend just invited you to join her for a little early morning sunrise pilates, why not take her up on it? Or, if you already work out on the reg with a trusty tampon as your sidekick, take some comfort in the fact that science says it's totally OK, and actually encouraged, to get your sweat on during this time.
However, the are a few different types of movement you should avoid during your menstrual cycle.
These include things like inverted yoga poses and intense cardio sessions. While yoga can be seriously amazing for PMS symptom relief, make sure you're avoiding certain asanas, such as shoulder stands, headstands, and plow pose, because inversions can lead to swelling of the blood vessels in your uterus. To put it bluntly, standing on your head could lead to excessive blood flowing out of your vagina. That's going to be a hard pass for me.
As for the intense cardio sesh that you might think will banish your bloat and poof away your lower back pain, you might want to hold off. According to research done at the Sports Medicine Biodynamics Center at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Research Foundation, there may be more risk of an ACL injury during menstruation. Apparently, researchers discovered that some women may have poorer motor control when they're menstruating, so it's probably best to save the sprints for after your period.
However, besides these two extra precautionary measures, there's not a whole lot to avoid when it comes to combining fitness with your flow. In fact, there are so many different exercises -- from swimming to strength training -- that compliment menstruation in the best way possible.
Of course, always remember to listen to your body, and allow yourself to take a break when you need it -- especially when your uterus is working hard as hell. But, if you feel up to it, get out there, slay your sweat sesh, and show everyone that girls really do run the world.