First, let’s just get this out of the way, during your period, you can do whatever the hell you want. If you want to curl up in a ball and watch Riverdale, that’s okay. If you want to have a long bath and a little cry, that’s okay too. It’s a tough time of the month and you need to do whatever is best for you.
If you feel exercise is something you would like to do, know that healthcare professionals do recommend it. Our resident period expert Nurse Shelley previously explained: “Exercise is beneficial for your physical and mental health, and as a health care professional, I would always encourage exercise which is within your capabilities, at least a couple of times a week. From walking or cycling to school, to partaking in sports and going to the gym, it is very achievable to include exercise into your routine. Being on your period should not stop that. If you feel well enough to, still exercise as you normally would! If you’re feeling crampy or feel sick, of course, you should rest and take care of yourself. If you’re feeling a little emotional, sometimes a nice walk is exactly what you need, or even a little bit of yoga and stretching.
If you feel like moving quickly is painful or will make you feel sick, yoga may be the perfect exercise for you. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and emotional (thanks PMS!) yoga can help with that too. There are so many nice, gentle yoga workouts on apps like Glo and Daily Yoga to Youtube videos from qualified instructors like Adriene Mishler (Yoga With Adriene). These gentle workouts can help stretch out any sore muscles, help you with your breathing and just get you to slow down and practice some self-care. Just don’t be afraid to sit out any very difficult postures while on your period, and do not do any headstands or postures where you’re upside down!
This one might sound pretty obvious but there are a few reasons why walking is the perfect period exercise. Firstly, it’s one of the most gentle, easy things you can do to get your heart racing without any pressure being put on your tummy or other crampy areas, secondly, you can go at your own pace so if you’re in pain, you can stop at any time. Other benefits include the fact that you’ll get lots of fresh air which can improve your mood and whether you’re listening to a podcast or walking with someone, the distraction will take your mind off it!
If you’re lucky enough to live near the beach, or regularly go to the pool, a swim can be really lovely on your period. It’s best to do this toward the end of your period if you have a heavy flow, but if you wear a tampon or menstrual cup, there is no reason why you can’t swim when you’re bleeding. Just don’t wear a pad as it’ll just absorb all the water and may fall off. The reason swimming is so nice during menstruation is that you can float in the water while working your muscles and moving your body, meaning it’s not heavy on your tummy or any other sore parts.
If you’re comfortable enough to sit on a bike, this can be a good way to get a quick fifteen minutes of exercise, move your legs and get your heartrate going, without having to move your body toooo much. Take yourself to a park or quiet spot where you can have a little cycle and stop off at a nice cafe for some hot choc too!
If exercising just seems too much, but you feel stiff and sore from lying down a few little stretches can do you the world of good. Even if moving your torso and sides is too painful, moving your neck, arms and legs is still good for you. You can check out gentle stretches on YouTube too or check out some Instagram accounts like the one below with easy to follow videos.
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If all of this sounds like your worse nightmare and you don’t feel like you can even more on your period, Shelley stresses that this is something you should take seriously.
“If you find your period symptoms are frequently causing you to miss sports you partake in or leaving you unable to do any form of exercise whatsoever, it may be time to see a doctor. “