Our bodies go through quite a few hormonal changes during our menstrual cycle. There are some days when you feel like a million bucks, but we all experience dips in energy at some point, particularly during the days right before your period. You may have heard that there is a time in your menstrual cycle when you should totally kick back and rest rather than tough it out at the gym, kind of like a free hall pass.
While this is a great concept to consider, Alyssa Dweck, MD, gynecologist in New York, and author of The Complete A to Z for Your V: A Woman's Guide to Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Your Vagina, told POPSUGAR that there aren't really any hormonal changes in your body that should stop you from pursuing your fitness goals.
Don't get us wrong — Dr. Dweck isn't saying that you shouldn't have rest days. Rather, she's saying that there isn't any part of your menstrual cycle that should interrupt your already planned workout. Any natural hormonal changes your body goes through won't affect your ability to work out.
"When you're having your period, the only reason to not exercise is that your bleeding is so heavy that you can't control your flow," Dr. Dweck told POPSUGAR. "Some women do get very fatigued from their period and maybe even anemic." But this is pretty much the only reason exercising might not be a good idea.
Dr. Dweck said there's a "big dip in estrogen" right before you menstruate, which accounts for fatigue, brain fog, and even clumsiness. While these aren't ideal feelings to face, they don't make you any less capable of getting through a workout. In fact, exercising is the very thing that will help you feel better. You can even try some yoga poses to help your cramps.
If you're feeling particularly clumsy or scatterbrained, Dr. Dweck suggested, "Instead of doing free weights, maybe do a machine where there is some protection. Maybe running on the treadmill is the way to go rather than outside."
She also reminded us that science has proved time and time again that "exercise on a regular basis increases endorphins, those feel-good chemicals, and this also helps with menstrual cramps."
So while you might not feel that excited about working out during some points of the month, that doesn't mean your body can't handle it. Be smart with your workout choices, but get your body moving as much as you can! Your period will be much easier to handle.