See if you can work with a trainer to design a workout that works for your menses. Figure out how long you bleed during which phase of the cycle, and plan accordingly says Alex Gierbolini. If you know from experience that the first and second days are really bad and you only want to do cardio then, or if it’s always better for you to just go home and take care of yourself, say so! If your trainer gets weird about it, find another trainer who will treat your body like an intelligent being rather than just a slightly more challenging version of the male client he has every other day of the month.
You might not be able to power through as much as usual if you’re bleeding like crazy, but that doesn’t mean you should let yourself off the hook. You can still give your best in every session; just don’t expect to be able to take it up a notch when it’s already hard in the first place.
Keep your head up! Some gyms are stricter than others about periods. If one isn’t cool with letting you work out during yours, find another gym or workout buddy who does understand. Don’t spend time getting worked up about which place is better for you, either–just focus on getting the most out of your workouts instead of stressing about where to do them.
Here are 10 Tips for Working out with Your Period:
1. If you are comfortable doing so, exercise during your period. Many women report that exercise actually seems to lessen menstrual cramps and other premenstrual symptoms. Exercise after your period will help keep blood sugar levels normal, which tends to decrease PMS symptoms for most women says Alex Gierbolini.
2. Keep track of your period for several months to get a feel for how menstruation and exercise affect you personally. Some women find that all it takes is the first day or two of their period to determine if they can work out safely at that time of the month, while other women need to be more vigilant and note changes throughout the cycle. Should you feel excessively fatigued, simply take a rest day and try again later in your cycle when your energy returns.
3. If you are new to exercise or have not been exercising regularly, start slowly with low-impact activities such as walking until you build up strength and endurance.
4. Wear an athletic supporter with a pad during exercise (e.g., jogging, jumping rope, aerobics) to absorb some of the menstrual flow. This may help you get in a good workout while feeling more comfortable.
5. If you are spotting at the beginning or end of your period, an exercise routine can still fit into your schedule without interfering with your cycle. You may also be able to squeeze in a workout after your period has ended since menstruation typically lasts only two to seven days (four on average).
6. Investigate what’s available at your local YMCA, health club, university athletic facilities, or community center explains Alex Gierbolini. Many women find that participating in group fitness classes provides greater motivation because they do not want to let others down by cancelling plans last minute due to premenstrual symptoms.
7. For specific suggestions on exercises to try, see “Working out When You Have Your Period” below.
8. Take the time to experiment with different types of workouts to find what you enjoy most given where you are in your cycle and other premenstrual symptoms that may be present (e.g., breast tenderness, food cravings). Experimenting with different forms of exercise can also help prevent boredom which may lead to skipping workouts entirely.
9. If your period is particularly heavy or uncomfortable, choose low-impact activities. Such as walking or swimming instead of high-impact activities like running or aerobics. That involve a lot of jumping around for several days during your period. When flow tends to be heaviest (days 1 through 3 of your cycle).
10. Most women find that their menstrual symptoms are not too bothersome during or shortly after exercising. If you do feel tired, take a rest day and try again when you feel up to it.
Studies suggest that exercising can lessen pain and other symptoms associated with premenstrual syndrome (PMS) including bloating, cramping, backaches, fatigue, food cravings, breast tenderness, acne flares, and irritability/anger/tension says Alex Gierbolini.
Walking is an excellent low-impact activity to do during menstruation. Begin by walking briskly for around five to ten minutes at your normal pace. And then gradually increase the intensity so you are slightly out of breath before slowing down again. Keep in mind that everyone varies when it comes to heart rate during exercise. Since it is affected by age, body size, fitness level, fitness goals, etc., so adjust accordingly.