Every week of your cycle brings different bodily changes. These changes result from the fluctuations of progesterone and estrogen throughout your cycle. As these hormones ebb and flow, so do your energy levels and even your emotions. So reports have found different forms of exercise may serve you better at different times of the month.
So here’s a breakdown of what kind of exercise would be most beneficial depending on where you are in your cycle.
When you’re premenstrual get some cardio in.
The week before our periods we may be feeling a bit depressed, anxious, or angry. These emotions are due to a rapid rise in progesterone, the hormone responsible for encouraging our bodies to begin to shed our uterine lining when we menstruate.
So as progesterone is building up, our fight or flight response is activated, and as a result, so are our emotions. The best thing to do is to take on a more intensive form of cardio. So go for a run, or go to a spin class, because slightly higher paced exercise methods will help stimulate endorphins, which can help with depressive feelings and even alleviate premenstrual cramps. But most of all these forms of exercise will also help release the buildup of our stress and fear response that may have been activated as the rise in progesterone stimulates our fight or flight response.
<<READ MORE: Make the Most of Your Workouts by Utilizing Your Hormone Cycle>>
When you’re menstruating, slow down and turn inwards.
The week of our periods can be a rough one, so take a moment to slow down, especially the first day or two of your cycle. Every woman will react to her cycle differently, so what exercise method we choose on our cycle should be addressed case by case, day by day, but the main piece of advice is try not to overdo it when menstruating. Listen to your body.
Yoga has been proven to help alleviate menstrual pain. Yin or restorative yoga classes are a great way to slow down the first two to three days of the menstrual cycle, while still feeling like you are doing something for your body. During the latter half of your cycle, you could try slightly more intensive yoga practices, like hatha or vinyasa.
But if you want to take a break from formal exercise altogether while you are menstruating, that is perfectly normal, listen to your body. If you’d like, you could try a light walk around the block or some daily stretching to keep your body active.
The week after your period, you can gently pick up the pace.
As the period week ends, the progesterone levels in the body decrease, while the estrogen levels rise. Estrogen tends to have an antidepressant effect on the body, and as a result you may begin to feel more energized.
If you have a workout method you do regularly, like running, yoga, swimming, etc. feel free to get back into the groove. But again don’t overdo it, the body is beginning to rebuild the uterine lining from scratch and that takes up some energy resources.
If you don’t have a regular exercise routine, try going for a jog, working out at the gym, or going to a barre or pilates class this week. Any mild to moderate exercise will serve you well this week and help your body feel balanced and energized.
Go wild and dance it out when you are ovulating.
As estrogen levels continue to rise, ovulation marks the peak of the month. Research reports have found it is when women feel their sexiest, and are more likely to want to socialize—meaning our energy levels are higher than they are at any other time of the month.
So go crazy, have fun, and maybe try something new, like a pole dancing class (reports have found female lap dancers earn higher tips the week of ovulation). Try out a more intensive form of exercise you haven’t felt like you have the energy to do -- this week your body and its energy capacity may surprise you. You’ll be at the top of your game, so soak it up and enjoy!
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