Aunty Flow, Lady Business, On the rag, Crimson Tide, Riding the cotton pony – call them what you will, but periods? They’re a pain – figuratively and literally.
At least they can be. It’s enough to make you want to curl up on the couch, with a bucket of ice cream and your favourite movie.
And let’s face it, exercise is the last thing on our minds when we have period pain. It’s only going to make things worse, right?
“A lot of people will avoid exercise during menstruation as they assuming moving about will cause more pain when in actual fact it is the complete opposite,” says pilates instructor, Taylah Traynor
“People assume exercise may cause more pain because they are already in discomfort and they just want to sit on the couch with their favourite snacks and a movie.”
Taylah says fluctuating hormones play a part too, toying with our motivation and essentially helping it take a dive.
But its time to kick those pesky hormones to the curb – figuratively of course – and let your brain lead the way. Because according to Taylah, exercise can actually help improve our pain during menstruation.
“Although we may feel bloated and unmotivated, we should try and encourage ourselves to even go out for a decent walk,” she says.
How does it help, you ask? Well, essentially, exercise during menstruation helps with blood flow, while also increasing the release of endorphins – this helps reduce pain and improve your mood. Bonus!
You shouldn't do anything too vigorous or out of the ordinary on the notorious “day one” of your period though, keeping to light exercise is the way to go.
Taylah says aerobic exercises and stretches are great options for reducing cramping. She recommends exercises including:
· Cat Cow stretch, figure 4 stretch, child's pose stretch, and the pigeon stretch
· Walking for 20 minutes
· Light gym routine
Moving your body for at least 30 minutes a day is a good idea, says Taylah, but you can do more or less, depending on how you feel.
“Whether you’re watching an at home yoga video or taking the dogs for a walk it is always a bonus to get moving,” she says.
For the first couple of days, avoid high intensity training or intense exercise, instead, listen to your body, Taylah says.
“If you are still feel fatigued or experiencing heavy bleeding after day two, stick to less intense exercises
“Getting into a routine would be my biggest tip, drinking at least two litres of water a day to keep hydrated - not just during your period but every day.
“And scheduling in two to three times a week where you are doing some sort or strength or resistance training.”
After you’ve done your exercise, you may still feel like curling up on the couch though, and that’s just fine.
Heat always helps with pain too, plus it’s plain old comforting when you’re dealing with periods. You can check out our range of heat packs here.