This one’s for the ladies – especially those of you who stop exercising when it is that time of the month.
Since I’ve started teaching in a high school, where the extremely raging hormonal activity of teenagers is a CONSTANT issue to deal with, I think I’m starting to become an expert on them. Ha! Try to con me now, kiddies! :D Anyway, one of the BIGGEST issues is obviously period pains. Girls pull out this excuse like it’s some sorta buy 1 free 1 coupon. The moment you allow one little girl to be excused from class for this reason, another one comes along. Dislike!
But I do realise this isn’t just a school girl’s concern, but that of many women around as well. The Asian superstitions do not help. So let me try to clear up some haze for all ma sistaz out there :)
Pre-Menstrual Syndrome (PMS) and Exercising.
PMS makes you moody, bloated, lethargic, sometimes anxious, sometimes depressed, and almost usually in pain on some level. Let me give one quick pill that takes care of all that: EXERCISE!
Aerobic exercise releases endorphins in your body, which are our body’s natural painkillers. Thus it kicks out the pain, boosts your happiness level, and keeps you all pumped up and energetic for the rest of the day. Bloatedness? No problem! Exercise makes you sweat it all out, so you get rid of all that excess fluid in you. Just remember to rehydrate with a sports drink and you’re good to go!
Some of us do not feel like moving around much during PMS. Exercise helps to loosen up the lower abdomen, back and thigh muscles, plus it helps strengthen the pelvic floor muscle (it’s that muscle that helps you hold your pee in). So all that tightness you feel can actually go away with exercise!
Period and Exercising.
Your period does not make you perform worse. Studies have been done on elite athletes and they all performed just as well during menstruation compared to when they’re not having their period. More often than not it’s your mind that’s telling you you’re going down, so quit giving excuses.
However, and I urge you all to take this with a pinch of salt, there is research on the risk of injury during menstruation. It is suggested that there is a higher chance of ACL (that’s a ligament in the knee) injury during your period because of poorer motor control during this time compared to before period. But it is nothing a bit of strength work can’t fix! So if you want to prevent this increase of risk, then I suggest you do your lower body strength exercises to ensure the muscles are nice and strong and will not pull your knee cap our of its orientation! :)
There are also concerns about yoga inverted poses, because some people think it’ll “flow backwards”. Well, as plausible as that may sound, it is actually not. Because that’s how our body works! Excuse me, for this may not be the best example, but if you stood and your head and needed to pee, your pee would still come out the right way, and not flow backwards. Same goes to your period. It’s a downward current and it’ll stay that way. There are some fears about other health complications like endometriosis and vascular congestion, which have all been scientifically proven to be untrue.
However, every woman responds differently to their periods, and if it does make you feel uncomfortable you shouldn’t force your body to do anything it does not feel like doing. Just let the instructor know and she’ll know what to do with you. =)
BUT, if you feel really crappy when Aunt Flow comes to visit, but you really (honestly) do not want to fall out of your awesome exercise routine, then take these pointers:
1. Take it easy. Jog a notch slower instead of running. It’s still better than sitting down moaning.
2. Eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetable, whole grains and lean meat to ensure you get enough good wholesome nutrition in you to keep you energised.
3. Avoid salt (because you will get more bloated) but eating spicy foods are fine.
4. Avoid caffeine because this makes cramps a lot worse.
5. Sleep well at night. Nothing makes a woman on PMS crankier than a sleep deprived woman on PMS. Hell hath no fury then.
I hope this helps you ladies out there! Keep on exercising, don’t stop being awesome just because of a little flow ;)