Our Cleo community never ceases to amaze us. Overall, we know you’re an extremely fit bunch; around 70-percent of you told us in our survey of 3,100 women that you dutifully work out at least a couple of times each week. And some committed souls get active every day. We’re all human, however, so we understand that the inspiration to hit the gym becomes challenging when you have your period and, let’s face it, all you want to do is run right to bed with a box of chocolates. Tempting as that sounds, resist the urge (you got this) as a workout goes a long way in beating the period blues, pain, and discomfort. Here are the six best exercises to keep you physically and emotionally strong, any time of the month, and especially during your monthly.
Walking is one of the most undervalued yet enjoyable physical activities. So if you’re feeling a little more mellow than usual, strap on your power walking shoes, and get outdoors for 30 minutes (the amount of time experts say adults should spend at least moderately exercising). If the weather doesn’t cooperate, hit the treadmill. Not only does a brisk walk get your heart pumping with aerobic activity, which helps relieve symptoms like fatigue and depression, studies show walking boosts your creative thinking. Not to mention calms a frazzled mind.
If power walking isn’t your speed and you want to kick it up a notch, go ahead and hit the track. A steady jog for 30-minutes or so is enough to boost your endorphins for a rush of mood-boosting energy. Speaking of a rush, if you’ve got a relatively heavy flow, keep in mind that running can make it even heavier, so be prepared. And if you’re already a long-distance runner, go for it — even if you’re competing, because it’s a myth that you your performance is affected by your period. (Remember Kiran Gandhi, who ran the London Marathon free bleeding? No excuses! But do keep a COMFORT portable heat pack on hand to help deal with any cramping before or after your run.)
We understand if slipping into a suit and plunging into a pool sounds like the last thing you want to do when you’re on your period. But we promise the delicious weightlessness you feel when you’re submerged can be a beautiful form of self-care. A few gentle laps will help take the pressure off your aching lower back, increase your blood flow and circulation, and overall is a wonderful way to alleviate body pain and discomfort. Ready, set, swim.
Yoga is a mind-body practice — making it perfect for balancing your hormonally challenged mood and easing the pain and discomfort your period brings. Stretching and twists have proven to relieve digestive issues (i.e., gas, bloating, indigestion, constipation). At the same time, deep breathing calms your nervous system and relaxes your body, including those angry, cramping uterine muscles. The best thing about yoga is that there are so many different classes and techniques — from gentle and restorative to more strenuous like vinyasa flow and hot yoga — that you can choose the perfect one for you. Word of warning: yoga teachers say is to skip inversions when you’re menstruating. That’s yogic philosophy, not a hard and fast rule. We say, just go with the flow.
5) Strength training
This may sound counterintuitive, but trust us, just because your energy plummets during your period, doesn’t mean you aren’t strong. In fact, the monthly dip in estrogen can make you feel more powerful. Not that we are suggesting that you should suddenly start lifting heavy weights like a champion — that would put too much pressure on your core muscles and intensify any cramps. Instead, embrace low weight and higher reps to build strength and resilience to fight whatever your period throws at you.
Nothing will give you a healthy boost of happy hormones (aka endorphins), quite like shaking your booty to your favorite artists. Loads of research shows that music gives you a mental tune-up, elevates our mood and can work to reduce pain, depression, and anxiety. So bop into that new dance fitness studio you’ve been dying to try, sign up for a salsa lesson, get your Zumba on, or just crank up the tunes at home and dance like nobody’s watching (because nobody is).
A word to the workout wise: While the benefit of exercising during your period can’t be overstated, it is possible to overdo it. Start gently and work your way up. If it feels like too much, modify or stop.Pro tip: Before working up a sweat, prep your body and enhance your performance with Cleo’s ultra-hydrating ENERGY effervescent drink mix infused with a potent blast of vitamin B12 and C, folic acid, calcium, and magnesium.