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Reasons you should exercise during your period

Vicki Clinebell majored in journalism at the University of Colorado, and headed an advertising agency before beginning a long career in broadcasting, spanning production and copywriting to sales and management for an ABC affiliate statio...

Work it out

Light to moderate exercise during your period helps you avoid discomfort!

Woman doing yoga during period

Exercise affects your body's hormone levels and can decrease those symptoms that we all dread every month -- from painful cramps to PMS. Studies show that light to moderate exercise (just don't overdo it) can reduce the congestion in your pelvic area while increasing the endorphins in your system, resulting in a higher level of relaxation. You'll feel better if you keep exercising!

Try yoga or swimming

These activities are designed to stretch the abdominal muscles and can put a curb on your cramps. While you swim or go through yoga stretches, the blood flow to the pelvic region increases to quickly relieve that cramping feeling. Here's an easy yoga stretch to try:

Take it easy

When you feel bloated and irritable during your period, it can be difficult to muster enough energy to exercise. Start slowly, and you'll probably find that you feel better after just 10 minutes. Warm up gently with some stretches. Modify your regular routine if necessary. Instead of a run, go for a brisk walk. You can also jog, swim, do yoga or lift light weights. If exercise is part of your daily routine — and it should be — light exercise during your period minimizes PMS symptoms. Getting moving lessens the pain and discomfort that accompanies your period while giving you a welcome boost of energy.

Dr. Sarah Russom, a women's health expert, advises her patients to do moderate exercise during their periods to help soothe the contracting uterine muscles that are a major cause of cramps. The exercise brings additional blood flow to the area, which is beneficial in pain relief. She believes that it's safe to work out during your period as long as you don't push yourself too hard, but cautions women who are experiencing extreme pain or discomfort to talk to their physician and explore additional treatments for pain relief and for regulating menstrual cycles.

Women who suffer from debilitating menstrual symptoms can often be helped with hormonal contraceptives that will regulate their cycles and make the flow lighter. Once the cycle is controlled, these women should be able to exercise without worries. Dr. Russom points out that missed or irregular periods often happen to women who exercise strenuously. If your period does not regulate after six months on an exercise program or if you miss more than two periods in a row, you should see your doctor for an evaluation and treatment options. Not having a regular menstrual period can sometimes be associated with cardiovascular problems and osteoporosis.

More on women's health

7 Best exercises during your period
4 Reasons to exercise outdoors
5 Ways to get menstrual cramp relief

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