How To Exercise During Your Period and Each Stage Of Your Cycle
Do you ever notice that at some points during the month, you feel like you could run a marathon—while at other times, you want to do nothing more than curl up on the couch? 🥴
While the shifts in hormone levels throughout our cycle can feel like they are impacting your workout plans, the good news is, we can learn to work with our bodies and energy levels, and choose exercises that are best suited to each stage of your cycle.
When planning your workout schedule, you should take into account where you are at in your cycle.
Here’s some tips on how you can best optimise your workout routine during each phase of your cycle.
THE BEST WAY TO WORKOUT DURING EACH PHASE OF YOUR MENSTRUAL CYCLE
The average cycle is around 28 days, but it can often be shorter or longer. The four main phases are:
- Follicular Phase
- Luteal Phase
HOW DO I KNOW WHICH PHASE OF MY CYCLE I AM IN?
Tracking your cycle is a great way to work out which phase of your cycle you are in so that you can make the best of each phase.
There are plenty of apps that can help you do this!
SHOULD I EXERCISE ON MY PERIOD? EXERCISING DURING YOUR MENSTRUAL PHASE
Your energy will be at its lowest during this phase, so you may feel more tired and lethargic.
But, you can still exercise on your period. If your energy levels are low, opt for exercises that help decrease inflammation and stress in the body.
For example, start with gentle active stretching, walking or light cardio to help boost circulation and endorphins. Then move into some light weight strength workouts or restorative yoga. One study even showed that yoga can help ease menstrual cramps!
EXERCISING DURING YOUR FOLLICULAR PHASE
At end of your period, hormone levels start to rise, which can bring you more energy, alertness, and improve your mood.
Now is a great time for socialising, exercising, and trying new things. Go for a hike, include some HIIT or heavier strength workouts in your routine & plan some fun nights out.
EXERCISING DURING YOUR OVULATORY PHASE
At this point in your cycle, estrogen and testosterone rise to peak levels, which means that your energy levels are at their highest.
If you want to incorporate more high intensity workouts into your routine, then now is the time to do so! You could try running, circuit training or HIIT style workouts.
EXERCISING DURING YOUR LUTEAL PHASE
The first two to three days of the luteal phase will feel very similar to the ovulatory phase. While you still feel higher energy levels, feel free to continue doing strength and cardio workouts.
After a couple of days, estrogen and testosterone levels start to decline, and your body will begin producing progesterone. As a result, you will feel yourself beginning to wind down. At this point, take it easy, drink some Period Support herbal tea, & ease into low impact strength workouts or stretching, yoga or Pilates.
DO WHAT’S RIGHT FOR YOU
While evidence shows that your hormones can affect your physical performance during each phase of your cycle, this doesn’t mean that there is a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to exercising.
Everyone’s bodies and menstrual cycles are different, so you should always listen to your body and do what’s right for you. Remember that it’s important to take recovery days, and give your body the rest it deserves, especially when you are feeling low energy.