Exercising while on your period… ever find it tricky to manage, or even get the motivation to go? Luckily Amy Wright (@Wellnesswithamy) is here to help.
Periods can be a taboo subject. It’s a monthly experience (or ordeal) all women encounter, yet it’s an essential part of female wellbeing that we don’t often openly discuss.
When you’re feeling sluggish and bloated, exercise is probably the last thing you feel like doing. Despite this, many of us will drag ourselves to a spin class in the hope of burning the bloat away or at the very least getting a hit of endorphins. But is smashing the gym beneficial or detrimental when you’re feeling a little more fragile?
Exercising may be a useful tool for elevating your period mood and making you feel more positive in yourself.
So, do we exercise to feel good or rest completely? It’s a little bit like chocolate – enjoy in moderation and good quality. I would find it very difficult (mentally) to not exercise for a whole 6-7 days, however, during my menstrual cycle I swap HIIT and hardcore gym sessions for gentle stretching, long walks, pilates and yoga. Towards the end of my period, if my body is feeling energised I may incorporate some gentle weight training, but I don’t place any rules or pressure on myself either. I listen to my body and generally it asks for a complete rest day on day one of my cycle and craves that extra hour of sleep.
I’m also conscious of the foods I’m putting into my body. I usually eat less meat, but like to ensure I am still getting adequate protein – my favourite sources include chia seeds and Vega plant-based protein powder. I eat more green leafy veggies, almonds and lots of fruit high in Vitamin C such as strawberries and oranges. I’m always craving the sweeter treats so fruit and protein smoothies are a mainstay of my period diet.
Through being mindful of my womanly cycle, I’ve learned that I won’t gain weight from taking a few days off the fitness wagon. In fact, if I’m feeling emotional or stressed, smashing an intense workout is the last thing I need when I’m feeling fatigued and anxious. I’ve learned to listen to my body, but also my emotions. I think it’s so important to be kind to ourselves and let ourselves feel the feelings that come up, rather than suppressing them or distracting ourselves. After all, it’s pretty amazing what our female bodies are capable of. Instead of hating on our bodies, I’m choosing to honour mine with lots of kind words, gentle movement and TLC even when it’s bloated, puffy and craving all the chocolate.