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?