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Exercises That Ease PMS and Period Symptoms

Feeling Crampy? Low-Impact Exercises For That Time of the Month

During Aunt Flo's monthly visit, feeling crampy, fatigued, or bloated may make it hard to stick to your normal fitness routine. Instead of skipping out on exercise completely, swap high-intensity workouts with something less intense — light exercise can actually help alleviate symptoms associated with PMS and your period. Here are some low-impact workout ideas to send your period's symptoms packing while also shedding a few calories at the same time.

  • Go for a brisk walk with a girlfriend: Head out on your lunch break for a 20- to 30-minute walk in the park or around your neighborhood before dinner. This light form of cardio is enough to get your muscles moving and your heart rate up, which is the type of exercise recommended for cramp relief. For an added bonus, chatting it up with your gal pal will let you vent about work, your BF, or other things that especially set you off during that time of the month.
  • Go swimming: Hitting the pool is a great way to relieve cramps and get your exercise on. Since your body feels so light and free, you can move your limbs in all directions without having to expend much energy to hold your body weight. I wouldn't try to beat your best lap time, but rather focus on moving with ease through the water, and doing what feels good. All that movement and increased blood flow is sure to lift your energy levels and relieve your headache (if you have one), and I find spending time underwater also calms my mind.
  • Do strength training moves that target your abs: I know this seems a little odd to purposely tense up the area that already feels like it's in knots, but doing ab work can actually bring relief. The relaxing Scissor Abs move will target your lower abs as well as loosen tight hips and hamstrings — all of which can contribute to menstrual cramps.

Continue reading to hear more exercise ideas to relieve period symptoms.

  • Gentle yoga class or stretching at home: The slow and steady holding of poses in yoga is perfect for that time of the month. Since yoga focuses on pulling your energy inward, no matter how tired you feel, you can always muster up enough oomph to do some stretching. Here are some yoga poses recommended for relieving period symptoms:

    Butterfly: This seated pose relieves tension in the hips.
    Wide-Legged Child's Pose: Separating your knees in this version of Child's Pose will reduce lower pack pain.
    Camel: Stretching your abs can relieve abdominal tension.
    Down Dog: It gets the blood flowing to your head, which can ease mood swings or sad feelings associated with PMS.
    Happy Baby: This relaxing pose will help relieve lower back pain and cramps.

  • Get it on: If all else fails, a romp in the hay can do wonders for PMS and period symptoms. If you're not opposed to it, aside from uplifting your mood and relieving stress, the uterine contractions of an orgasm help increase blood flow, which can relieve the sense of heaviness you feel in your uterus. Plus the endorphins released can ease tension and pain associated with cramps. It may only offer brief relief, but it's better than nothing, right?
Image Source: Thinkstock
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Join The Conversation
SarahPhilip67125 SarahPhilip67125 2 years
Yoga has always made me feel peaceful and serene,specially after a busy day at work.During periods also yoga is really good for the cramps.Me and my daughter get our periods around the same time ,so she joins me to yoga center only during her periods to soothe down her cramps.I got her adira period panties so that she doesn't have to worry about staining the yoga mat or anywhere else for that matter.Trying to get her to do yoga on a daily basis.
GirlOverboard GirlOverboard 4 years
So... have we all forgotten that tampons/menstrual cups exist, or what? (Except angri, of course) Also, aside from maybe concerns about leakage if attempting to swim without something in, there are no complications that can occur from swimming while on your period. This is an old wives tale, up there with "you shouldn't wash your hair while menstruating". Please do not spread misinformation by stating things that you *think* are facts without first checking with your source. As far as period sex, while it's not my preference, it is incredibly common and perfectly healthy. There are even studies that there may be a link between menstruation sex and various health benefits, though they haven't yet been proven - but I do know of many women that find it helps ease menstrual cramps (I assume because of the endorphin high). On the note of myths, however, it is important to note that contrary to popular belief, you CAN get pregnant from having period sex. Hopefully Dr. Sugar will back me up on this! :)
angri angri 4 years
Swimming is pretty much the only exercise I do, and I've never heard of 1) it being bad for you to swim while on your period or 2) your flow stopping when you get in the pool. I always use a menstrual cup and never have any problems with leakage or anything nasty happening.
Jen4 Jen4 4 years
#1 ITA! its gross.....and i am pretty sure swimming while you have period is very bad for health (my mom is gynecologist and i know it from her)
awesomepants awesomepants 4 years
^what? Is that true? If that is true, wouldn't the blood come rushing out the minute you got out of the pool?
2muchtv 2muchtv 4 years
Your flow stops while you're in the pool. That's according to my hs gym teacher, when she took all the girls aside just prior to the swimming unit. I usually find that when I'm in fetal position, that's when I DESPERATELY need to exercise. Only way to prevent period pains.
awesomepants awesomepants 4 years
People have sex and swim while on their period? Holy crap
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