Menstrual Hygiene Day is celebrated globally every year on 28th May in order to educate women about this bodily function, necessary healthy practices, the associated physiological changes, so on and so forth. Menstruation, also known as period, is part of a woman s reproductive functions which comes with a wide range of physical symptoms that are not only uncomfortable, but unbearable at times. These manifestations include moderate to severe abdominal cramps, uncontrollable mood bouts, extreme fatigue, bloating, joint pain, headaches, diarrhoea, so on and so forth. All these are the results of the hormonal changes that a woman s body goes through during those 3-5 days of menstruation every month.
As a result of these physical manifestations, it is but natural for women, even those who love to hit the gym, to skip their workouts during menstruation. However, several studies have pointed out various benefits of workout during this phase. It has been found that exercising can help you tackle the period symptoms that keep you bound to your bed during this time every month. In a study conducted at the St Mary s University in London, the researchers found that women who performed moderate intensity exercise during menstruation managed to reduce the related symptoms significantly. The reported manifestations included abdominal cramps, breast pain, fatigue and mood swings. This study accounted for more than 14,000 females around the world and 78 per cent of the participants said that exercise helped them ease the symptoms of their period.
While high-intensity workouts may not be possible during your periods, you can focus on gentle and light exercises. Yoga, Pilates, light cardio workouts, walking and small stretches of aerobic exercises are good options. A forward bend stretch can help you deal with abdominal cramps. However, you should consult your gynaecologist before trying any workout during menstruation if you suffer from severe symptoms. Make sure you don t overdo your workouts during those days of the month even if you are in fine fettle. In a study published in the Journal of Physiotherapy & Physical Rehabilitation, the researchers revealed that women who performed 60 minutes of moderate to intense exercise during menstruation suffered from exercise-induced inflammation. Some of the exercises like handstand or even a yogasana, like the dolphin pose is a complete no-no during periods. This is because these inversion poses may stretch your uterus and increase your risk of damaging the blood vessels that carry the blood from this reproductive organ to your vagina during menstruation.
If you follow these guidelines while working out during those days of the month, life will be easier for sure. On this World Menstrual Hygiene Day, which centres around the theme, 'It s Time For Action , we tell you how exercise is going to benefit you during your periods.
Beats cramps and bloating
As you already know, menstruation comes with a set of its own health complications such as cramps and fatigue among others. You can manage these irritating symptoms by exercising. Several studies reveal that your activeness can determine the severity of your period complications. For example, bloating is a common complication associated with menstruation. The sweat that accompanies you during your workouts can help you get rid of bloating. Moreover, you may not need painkillers during your periods if you work out. The logic is quite simple: Your muscle function improves when you exercise. This is what helps you beat abdominal cramps caused by hormone-like substances called prostaglandins which narrow down your uterus during menstruation. Moreover, exercises enhance your blood circulation, which in turn eases the pain. Additionally, a session of light workout is known to curb your stress levels, a major factor that can intensify these period complications.
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Relieves hot flashes
Hot flashes, or bouts of sudden rise in temperature have been experienced by women during menstruation. Though this condition is generally associated with menopausal women, pre-menopausal women may also experience this during their periods. You sweat a lot while you exercise. This helps you stay cool and beat hot flashes.
Helps you handle mood swings
Mood swing is the most common side effect that a woman faces during her periods. You might cry often or have an angry outburst along with anxiety attacks during this time of the month. These mood bouts can start appearing a week before your menstrual cycle too. The hormonal changes that occur during menstruation are responsible for these ups and downs. You can manage these symptoms by working out. This is because when you exercise, your body releases happy hormones like endorphins. They not only lighten your mood and reduce your stress levels but also bring down your pain perception.
Fatigue and headaches
When it is that time of the month, it is common for you to feel exhausted. This usually happens because during periods, you tend to get less snooze time due to the discomfort associated with this bodily function. Poor quality of sleep can also lead to persistent headache. Exercise is known to induce sleep, and boost your energy levels by improving your blood circulation and muscle stimulation. So, make sure to include light workouts in your routine during your periods. Even a short session of morning walk will help. You can increase the intensity of your walk as you run deeper into your periods as the initial days necessitate more rest. Consult a general physician and a fitness expert before deciding on your workouts.