I can’t say we’d be surprised if exercising during your period isn’t your most ideal activity. Between the mind numbing cramps, fatigue, and bloating, skipping the gym for some ice cream and reality tv seems like a fair trade. But if you’re looking to keep up with the suggested 30 minutes of exercise per day, there’s a way you can have your ice cream and eat it too! There are activities that are not only low-impact and well-suited for menstruating bodies, but could actually help minimize your period cramping. These workouts will help you break a (light) sweat and keep up your routine so when your period is over, getting back to the gym doesn’t feel too strenuous. Here are some ways to get your blood pumping (but like, not from your vagina. You know what I mean!)
Yup, walking. Before you roll your eyes at this suggestion, hear me out! While walking is something many of us do everyday, a brisk walk is technically an aerobic exercise (but no, this does not mean walking to the kitchen to get a late night snack is working out. Nice try). A walk increases blood circulation to your pelvis, which can possibly relieve period cramping. Whether it’s a quick loop around your neighborhood, a stroll to your supermarket, or a low-impact trail of your favorite hike, choose a walk that feels right for you and where you are in your period cycle. And don’t forget to bring a big bottle of water!
Yoga is a great way to ease the body and mind while you’re experiencing period symptoms. In 2017, the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine claimed that there is proof that yoga can relieve PMS and cramping! The best part? You can do it right at home! Feel free to keep on your leggings and sweats, keep a mug of tea close by, and go at a pace that feels good for you. Youtube is a great resource for guided yoga tailored for soothing period cramps. One of our personal favorites is Yoga With Adrienne, a beloved online yogi who appreciates the balance of physical and mental health. Online sources like Yoga Journal outline the best poses to relieve period symptoms. Go at your own pace, take deep breaths, and remember that if you wanna hang out in downward dog— go for it, as long as you want.
Light Aerobic Exercises
Emphasis on the “light!” Taking a scenic bike ride or a slow freestyle swim in the pool will prompt your body to release endorphins, which will not only put you in a better mood, but can act as a natural “painkiller” and help soothe your cramps. Like walking, these activities will also increase the blood circulation to your pelvis, which can help relieve pain. These activities shouldn’t put any significant strain on your body, especially if performed at a moderate pace, so you can avoid any additional aches and pains-- you already have menstrual pain to worry about!
Would it be a Sustain blog without sex? Joking! (But not really). If you’re feeling up for it, sex or masturbation can help soothe cramps and brighten your overall mood. The pelvic muscles will contract and release when your orgasm, potentially relieving your cramp pain. Additionally, your body releases oxytocin and dopamine hormones when your reach your climax, and will bring you a rush of pleasure. Sex can also help relive stress and contribute to a happier mindset, so it may benefit your physical and mental health while you’re on your period. Ain't nothing wrong with some period sex, friends!
What activities do you do to relieve cramps on your period? If there’s any we missed, please share it in the comments!