Exercise can help ease your period pain – this is why

Exercise can help ease your period pain – this is why

Period pain is horrible.

As well as the debilitating cramps, you can also suffer with back pain, sore breasts, headaches, mood swings and bloating. What a treat.

When you’re feeling like this, the last thing you probably want to do is put your trainers on and go and workout.

But it could be the best thing for you. Studies show that getting active can actually improve the physical and psychological symptoms of PMS. And at this point – we are willing to try anything.

One study, analysing young women over an eight week period, found that exercise made a ‘significant difference’ in improving PMS symptoms.

Overall, 31% of PMS symptoms were reduced over the two months, in participants who had been doing aerobic exercise.

So maybe it’s time to ditch the Netflix and ice cream and get on the treadmill instead.

If you struggle with PMS, the effects can be truly debilitating. For some people, the monthly cycle of symptoms can severely disrupt their daily lives, causing them to take days off work and even damage their relationships.

So it’s important to get on top of your symptoms and develop coping strategies to manage the pain and improve your mood.

During this time it’s crucial that you look after your body.

India Parker-Smith, a personal trainer on the training app Peach, says doing the right kind of exercise is really important.

‘During PMS – the two weeks leading up to menstruating – your body is essentially preparing for pregnancy, so you’ll be lacking in energy,’ India tells Metro.co.uk.

‘I’d suggest taking the intensity of your workouts down, try incorporating more stretching, or yoga into your fitness regime, and try avoid anything too strenuous.

‘Your body will be tired, and you may be more likely to injure yourself, so it’s a good time of the month to take a rest from your more hard-core activities.’

What fitness should you do on your period?

Steady state cardio like running, cycling, hiking and power walking are perfect during PMS, and will also help regulate mood and even help reduce water retention, common problems with PMS.

Body temperature also rises during this time, which can make intense exercise less comfortable.

A lower carb, higher protein and fat diet will complement this type of exercise and since the body is less insulin-sensitive during PMS, will reduce blood sugar and energy swings.

During your period is the time to hit those heavy weights and take all that tension out with a big workout.

Your body uses carbohydrates more efficiently now, and the extra carbs will help fuel the harder workouts.

Pollyanna Hale, fitness expert

Exercise is known for its endorphin-boosting qualities – sending happy chemicals surging through your veins.

So that might be why working out helps to reduce the emotional and psychological stress of PMS. But endorphins are only part of the story.

Herbalist and period pain expert, Rosemary Umolu explains: ‘Studies have shown exercise to boost brain chemicals, causing an analgesic effect. This may help to override the irritability and moodiness that comes with PMS.

‘As cramping is sometimes caused by reduced levels of oxygen in the body, exercise stimulates circulation and encourages a healthy blood flow in the uterus, resulting in reduced cramps.’

And that’s not the only good news – once you’ve made it through PMS and your period starts, the shift in hormones causes improved pain tolerance and muscle recovery, which can all pay off in the gym.

In other words – starting your period can actually help to supercharge your workout.

‘When you’re on your period, your hormones will be at their lowest, meaning you may be able to hit PBs and lift harder,’ explains India.

‘Of course, everyone is different, but if you’re not suffering from cramps, your mensuration period is when you can be at your strongest.’

The only hurdle then, is getting off the sofa and putting your kit on – when you least feel like it.

India has some tips: ‘If you want to stay motivated during while you’re suffering from PMS, try writing down your goals, the reason for those goals, and how you’ll feel if you don’t meet them.

‘Goals are a great motivational tool to keep you on track.’

I am Team GB

Toyota has teamed up with Team GB to re-launch the hugely successful participation campaign ‘I am Team GB’.

Inspired by the achievements of Team GB athletes and the amazing efforts of local community heroes, Team GB has created ‘The Nation’s Biggest Sports Day’, which will take place on the 24thAugust.

Over the weekend, there will be hundreds of free and fun activities across the country, put on by an army of volunteers; the ‘I am Team GB Games Makers’.

To Join the Team and be part of The Nation’s Biggest Sports Day sign up at: www.IAmTeamGB.com

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