19 Oct The best time to exercise during your period.
So, at the very start of the early follicular phase, which is when you have your period (usually day one to day five), you have low estrogen and progesterone, and you’ll also have typical PMS symptoms like pain, sore boobs, tiredness, etc.
According to research, during this time most women will experience reduced motivation, and a decreased willingness to train.
It’s also important to note here, that your period is an inflammatory process, which means your body is pretty stressed out around this time – so you’re going to recover slowly if you are training. It’s kind of your body’s way of telling you to back off on the heavy stuff.
Around this time, if you feel well enough, most experts would actually recommend a bit of movement because moderate-intensity exercise can actually improve menstrual symptoms.
“The moods within PMS – like anger and sadness – there’s a lot of research that proves exercise can improve those moods, at least for a few hours. So, exercising with PMS is one of my big prescriptions for people,” said Sutherland.
So, if it feels good for you and you’re not curled up in a fetal position with a hot water bottle, some gentle exercise can have its benefits. But yeah – this is not a good time to go all in. Just do what feels right for your body.
“Menstrual cramps are not pleasant and can make training feel a lot harder and not enjoyable. Forcing yourself to train when you are facing severe cramping will not be fun and could put you in a position of creating a negative relationship with exercise,” said O’Donnell.
“If this is you, then it would be wise to focus more on mobility and stretching through this time. Breathing exercises and meditation can help some women,” she adds.
As you reach ovulation, your estrogen level will spike. During this time you’ll find that your motivation and energy levels are up.
“Exercise often can feel easier around this stage because it’s considered a lower hormone phase, and we often feel like we can train harder,” explains Sutherland. “We access our storage of carbohydrates in our bodies more easily. And again, it’s probably why exercise feel a bit easier.”
It’s also important to note that estrogen is anabolic – meaning it helps build muscle. So, most experts say that now is the right time to start working on your strength, lifting those weights, and doing high-intensity exercise.
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