Exercising During Your Period: Why it Might be Good for You
There are many myths associated with menstruation that you may have encountered or heard about- don’t enter the kitchen or temple, don’t touch the pickles, use separate utensils, etc. Most of these myths stem from some cultural or religious belief and has no rational foundation to stand upon.
But there is one such myth which is often propagated as having a biological explanation- don’t exercise on your period. The reason commonly given is that the body needs rest while menstruating and it isn’t right to exert it. While it is true that some people might need to take it easy while on their period, they are by no means restricted to stop exercising altogether.
We interviewed Sandhya, a full-time dancer, on her experience with dealing with this myth. She recounts her mother always telling her to not attend dance practice while she was on her period. “According to my mom,” Sandhya says, “our bodies need rest at that time of the month otherwise it can lead to health-related problems.” But as a full-time dancer with multiple competitions and performances lined up, giving up on practising to reach her goal was not an option. Sandhya resorted to breaking away from this restrictive myth and went on to win multiple competitions and accolades. Her vigour for dance as well as her consideration for her body by giving it the rest it needed convinced her mother that periods cannot (and should not!) stop a woman from doing what she wants.
Exercise and light to moderate physical activity can actually be beneficial to the body while menstruating. Read on ahead to find out the advantages of exercise as well as some forms of exercise you can engage in easily while on your period.
Benefits of exercising on our period
- Boost your mood: Exercising leads to a boost of ‘endorphins’ that elevates your mood and makes you feel better.
- Reduce period pain: Endorphins can also help act as an alleviant for menstrual pain. Exercise also increases blood circulation which can help reduce pain from period cramps significantly.
- Reduces Fatigue and other symptoms of PMS: Many studies have shown that one can tackle fatigue, mood swings, and other PMS symptoms effectively through exercise.
- Regulate your cycle: If your menstrual cycle is irregular or erratic, physical exercise may be able to get you back on track. Pairing regular exercise with a healthy diet can help your period be more regular.
Types of Exercise to do on your Period
While, depending on your fitness and activity level, periods should not stop or restrict you from your regular exercise routine, some people may prefer to take it a little easy. In order to take care of your body best, you may try any of these low-intensity exercises to feel stronger and fitter while on your period!
- Light Cardio
- Low-Intensity Strength Training
We would like to emphasise that it’s totally normal to want to rest on your periods but if you do feel like you’re up to exercising, age-old myths should not stop you! Exercising can help relieve a lot of the physical and emotional symptoms that come with periods.
At the end of the day, you know what your body is capable of best. Engaging in whatever form of exercise you prefer, or taking a couple of rest days instead- the choice is solely yours to make.
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