I remember, way back when I was in high school and basically passing out left right and centre with period pain, one of my P.E teachers telling me how exercise was good for cramps. I laughed at her. Why in the world would I want to be jumping up and down and running around when I felt like an overstretched balloon?
The truth of it is, exercise does help to ease period pain and working out on your period is possible, but getting yourself to put on your workout gear and get going is not easy. Recently, I had one of those days where I was irritable, uncomfortable and basically wanted to just lie down, eat chocolate and go to sleep. But I did none of those things.
Instead, I decided to push myself to pick up some weights and get leg day over and done with. Leg day, is not the ideal day when you have cramping and bloating in the old lower abdomen area. I got through it and even though I did feel a little uncomfortable to start, I soon didn’t even notice it. Plus, afterwards I felt a lot less bloated and the cramping had eased off, so it turns out my P.E teacher was right all along!
Understandably, not every time will be like this, which is why I’ve put these 5 tips together for both you and for future me, to help us both grab our workout gear and get it done!
Do not lie down!
One of the biggest mistakes I make when preparing my mind and body for a workout, is lying down for ‘just a second’. Depending on when you are choosing to work out, keeping busy and upright can help to stop that sudden tiredness we all get as soon as we get comfy.
If you need a few minutes to apply a trusty hot water bottle to ease any cramps beforehand, then take a seat in an upright position, ideally in a dining chair. Nobody feels completely comfortable in a dining chair and you’ll be itching to get up and get moving after sitting for a few minutes in one of those!
Choose sanitary products that are comfortable
Working out on your period can require some careful planning in regards to sanitary requirement. You don’t want to be jumping about and not feel 100% secure, so aim to use sanitary products that you feel fully comfortable with. Many will use tampons, as they are secure and they move with you, as opposed to pads. However, I use pads come rain or shine, and as long as I have some perfectly fitting Bridget Jones undies on and my favourite pads, then I am just fine.
Drink plenty of water
I always notice a huge affect on my energy levels if I haven’t drunk enough water throughout the day. That time of the month can be stressful on our bodies, so it is important to keep yourself extra hydrated to combat this added fatigue.
Try and set yourself water drinking goals, such as a pint with every meal, or a glass every 30 minutes. You can even take a marked water bottle with you in your bag, to keep track of how much you’re taking in.
Fuel your body with goodness throughout the day
Again with the tiredness. We all know that are energy levels drop when we’re on our period, which is why it’s important to do everything we can to keep them elevated. If you know you’ll be doing your workout once you are home from work, make sure to have a nutrient filled day of eating. If you’re getting up early to fit your workout in before breakfast, make sure you have a nutritious meal the night before and a pint of water as soon as you wake up.
Take it slowly
Even though we should always try and push ourselves with our workouts, we all know that things can be a little more difficult during our period. Keep it in mind that you may not be able to go quite as hard as usual and that it’s ok if you flag a little.
Listen to your body and if cramping doesn’t subside after around 15 minutes, or if it gets worse, ease back a little and try to take things easier.
Too many times I’ve seen tampon ads or sanitary towel ads that show a woman rollerblading or jumping in the air because her sanitary products mean she can live her life again. The world doesn’t have to stop spinning just because it is your time of the month, you are capable of taking full control of your body and pushing through the toughest workouts. Working out on your period doesn’t have to be a chore. We are strong, we can withstand the cramping and we can smash any workout we put our minds to!