When it's that time of the month, exercise is often far from your mind. You're tired, you're bloated, and one of the last things you want to do is find good exercises for when you're on your period go to the gym. But just because you're not feeling your best doesn't mean you have to skip out on a workout if you don't want to. Plus — exercise while experiencing cramps and other period symptoms can actually improve how you're feeling.
A study published in the British Journal of General Practice found that exercising while you're menstruating can actually help relieve PMS symptoms, so it's especially important to stick with your workout routine if you want to feel as good as possible during that pesky time of the month. "Research also shows we have a higher pain tolerance and faster recovery period," says fitness expert Alexandra Bonetti to Bustle over email regarding that time of month. "So even though you might feel like staying home and putting your feet up, this is actually a great time to push yourself and sweat it out."
If you're looking for a workout routine that will be gentle on your sensitive body but will also help relieve the pains associated with PMS, try the following five workouts that have been recommended by fitness experts for when you're on your period.
Doing pilates is a great way to help stretch and open up the body if you're experiencing cramping. "Pilates helps to stabilize the pelvis by strengthening the deep abdominal muscles and the pelvic floor," says Eurona Tilley, owner of Epiphany Pilates, to Bustle over email. "In addition, the focus on breathing during each Pilates exercise helps to alleviate tension in the body and promotes relaxation."
Though it may not be your usual go-to exercise, swimming is a great exercise to help relieve your muscles and soothes aches such as back pains. It is also a helpful way to relieve cramps, as you work your abdominal muscles when in the water.
"For back ache, bend over and hang, and do downward facing dog and cobra yoga stretches.," says fitness expert Jacqueline Kelly over email. "These will relax the muscles that are usually associated with period back pain." Yoga can also help beyond the physical, as is it a natural way to reduce anxiety and stress.
"Increasing cardio workouts will bolster endorphins, which will counteract feelings of depression and lower self confidence," says Kelly. "It will also counteract bloating." Going for a light jog around your neighborhood or on a treadmill can be a quick way to get in your cardio, or if you're not feeling completely up for it, there's always the option to do a brisk walk instead.
Like running, Zumba is a great cardio exercise that might actually be less intense on the body. Dancing is a great way to not only break a sweat, but to boost your mood as well. Zumba also includes stretches that can help ease stomach cramps.
Sure, working out may not sound ideal if you're not feeling great, but if it can boost your mood and help those cramps stay away, it may be worth a try.