SPORT DURING MENSTRUATION: GOOD OR NOT?

Updated: Jul 14

It’s a monthly date you never forget, these mood swings you can’t ignore: your period!

For women, the monthly cycle rhythms our lifes — from sex to emotions to sport!


SPEAKING OF SPORTS...

Let's take a closer look at what happens during your cycle.

Exercise affects our body’s hormone levels and can decrease the painful cramps. It can reduce the congestion in the pelvic area while increasing the endorphins (they reduce pain and boost pleasure) in the system, resulting in a higher level of relaxation. You’ll definitely feel better if you keep exercising!


MENSTRUAL CYCLE & HORMONES

The menstrual cycle is measured from day one of your period up to day one of your next menstrual cycle: +/- 28 days.


On day one of your cycle — the day when bleeding starts — both estrogen (female sex hormone) and progesterone (female hormone that regulates the menstrual cycle and is crucial for pregnancy) are low.


During day 1 to 14, progesterone remains low as estrogen begins to rise, peaking around day 14. We can say the first part of your menstrual cycle is estrogen-dominant.


After ovulation, on days 15-28, estrogen decreases as progesterone rises. The second part of the menstrual cycle is progesterone-dominant.This rise and fall of estrogen and progesterone has an effect on fat storage and fat burning. These two hormones also influence two primary fat-regulating hormones — insulin and cortisol. High levels of estrogen decreases insulin capacity to store fat. Both estrogen and progesterone help buffer the negative effects of cortisol, the stress hormone that promotes fat storage.

HOW TO EXERCISE DURING THE FIRST HALF OF YOUR CYCLE?

Higher estrogen = More fat burning and muscle building

When estrogen is rising during the first 14 days of your cycle, your body will have a higher tolerance for more exercise overall. It’s an ideal time to focus on weight training.

Estrogen is an anti-stress hormone but also a good anabolic hormone. It means that estrogen encourages cellular growth and contributes to building muscle.

HOW TO EXERCISE DURING THE SECOND HALF OF YOUR CYCLE?

Higher progesterone = More fat storing and muscle sparing

As progesterone rises and estrogen falls the two weeks after ovulation, or during days 15-28, your body will have less tolerance for too much exercise. With higher progesterone levels, it is better going easier on exercise and lowering your carbohydrate intake. It means that consuming carbohydrates (refined sugars) in excess will be stored as fat.


BEST EXERCISES TO DO ON YOUR PERIOD TO RELIEVE PAIN

  • Walking / Swimming / Cycling

  • Light Strength training

  • Gentle stretch

  • Cardio – Dance

THINGS TO AVOID DURING YOUR PERIOD?

  • Moderate to intense exercise for a prolonged period of time. A study published in the Journal of Physiotherapy & Physical Rehabilitation concluded that 60 minutes of moderate to intense exercise performed by women during menstruation caused exercise-induced inflammation.

  • Inversions (yoga, pole dance,...) are not recommended because the uterus is pulled toward the head during these positions. This can cause the broad ligaments that support this organ to stretch and cause a partial collapse of the veins that carry the blood supply away from the uterus.

  • If you feel unusually fatigued, nauseous, or there is an increase in pain or discomfort, stop what you are doing and rest.

Women need to listen more to their bodies. We have the right to feel physically and emotionally weak even aggressive a few days a month!!!