1. Easy does it
Getting yourself out the door for a run or a gym session is an achievement enough on your best day, but add cramps, back aches and even nausea to this and suddenly it feels near impossible to do anything productive. You don’t have to go hard with exercise during this time. Instead, aim for around an hour or less of light cardio, which can include jogging on the treadmill, and low-volume strengthening exercises such as weight-lifting and squats. Yoga is better suited for those who don’t experience too much cramping as positions like an inversion can cause you to cramp more.
2. Warm up and stretch
Much like a workout on any other day, it’s important to first warm up and then stretch, making sure to stretch after your workout too, to avoid leaving your body feeling sore and achy later on. Warming up with a brisk walk or jog first ensures you won’t pull a muscle and wind up injuring yourself during workouts. If you take medication during your cycle, you may like to take one before exercising, to help alleviate cramps.
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3. Wear the right gear
Period leaks and stains are a reality that many of us are familiar with. It’s normal to feel vulnerable when working out on your period. Make sure you’re wearing the right protection (whether that’s a tampon, pad or pantyliner) that’s suited to your specific size and flow requirements. If you need an added layer of confidence, wear a pair of stretchy tights or fitted shorts under your gym clothes – and opt for black pants, just in case.
4. Stay hydrated
Drinking at least two litres of water every day is especially important when you’re on your period to keep your digestive system healthy and functioning normally (considering many women tend to suffer from diarrhoea or constipation on their periods). A common misconception is that this can result in an increase in water retention and as a result, more of the awful bloating that comes with periods. However, drinking less water will leave you feeling far worse, and drained of energy.
5. Remember to have fun
Working out during you period doesn’t have to feel like a chore, and there are plenty of ways to keep yourself motivated and enjoying your workouts. Try doing a fun and energetic class like Zumba, step or aerobics classes to get you in the right mood. Create your own playlist to listen to, so you can rock out while you work out!