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There’s nothing worse when the time of the month comes, and you must push all your plans to the side because your cramps are unbearable. According to the National Library of Medicine, 81.4% of women experience high menstrual pain at some point in their cycle.

It can be a challenge to follow through on your promises when all you want to do is lie in bed with a hot water bottle and eat chocolate. However, you can alleviate your period cramps by exercising and eating nutritious foods. And no, this doesn’t mean you have to do crazy cardio to feel good!

That is why we asked 50 health and fitness experts for their opinions and top tips on how to best combat period cramps. Let me tell you, the insights we have received from these experts were nothing short of amazing. We’ve listed all of them below.

Summary

All women experience uncomfortable cramps during their period. The most important thing is to realise that women can still be in control of their lives at this time. There are many ways to relieve menstrual cramps, one of them is through exercise. The best exercises to do during your period are low-volume strength training and power-based activities such as yoga and walking. During your period you lose a lot of red blood cells as a result this can reduce the amount of iron in your body. Therefore, it’s important to eat meals that contain iron and protein such as chicken, beans and fish. 

At the end of the day all women’s bodies are different, what works for one woman may not work for another. During your period it’s essential to listen to your body. Only you know what works and what doesn’t for your body. The way we talk about periods is changing, especially at work. A Dutch survey has revealed that menstruation symptoms negatively affect women’s productivity. As a result, Spain has become the first country in Europe to offer menstrual leave to women who suffer severe period pain.

Our Experts

Dimitra Theodoraki Caroline Hassett Amie Wiley
Erica Bracken Lesley Salem Emma Forsyth
Sanita Puspure Julie Morgan Saba Stone
Amanda Grant Olianna Gourlis Aifric Keogh
Terrie Pugh Wendy Macleod Sinead Brophy
Kirsty Harrison Anna Abubakar Claire Fudge
Olivia Beck Claire O’Brien Evie Whitehead
Charlotte Schilcher Rachel Graham Crystal Nicholls
Rachel Young Karine Patel Julia Young
Nora Bartkeviciute Ciara Ryan Fernanda Betti Solano
Zoë Baker Chantal Busson-Mitchell Magdalena Marvell
Jo Fazel Amanda Price Linn Thorstensson
Catie Gandhi Cathriona Hodgins Amanda Robinson
Andrea Cullen Gaby Cabrera-Kimchi Rachael Jordan
Charlotte Scherders Anita Andor Katie Illingworth
Ashleigh Salter Eavan Fitzsimons Malika Idouaddi
Sarah Marling Eszter Dara Nicola Brown
Dr Joyce Reed

Tips for exercising during your period:

Dimitra Theodoraki 

Registered Dietitian that believes health is all about harmony between physical, emotional and mental wellbeing. 

Instagram Website

How does your period impact your exercise routine?

Most women may avoid exercising during menstruation as they need more rest, and they may feel uncomfortable in their bodies. Personally, I like exercising from day two of my period, when I feel less pain. Overall,though, when I exercise during my menstrual days, it helps in pain management, and I feel more embodied.

Caroline Hassett

Is an online creator who is passionate about running and outdoor family life.

Instagram

How does your period impact your exercise routine?

Fatigue. 

Amie Wiley

Fitness Coach and Travel Enthusiast

Instagram Website

How does your period impact your exercise routine?

I like to lower the intensity and load lifted in my workouts when on my period due to lowered energy levels.

Erica Bracken

500hr RYT Yoga Teacher

Instagram

How does your period impact your exercise routine?

I’m a big believer in listening to what my body needs, no matter what time of the month it is, and during my period it is no different. If my energy levels are low, I’ll prioritise gentle yoga and be sure to get outdoors for the fresh air–that always makes me feel so much better! 

Lesley Salem

Lesley Salem is founder of Over The Bloody Moon, partnering with companies to ensure they are menopause-friendly. Lesley focuses on menopause policy consultancy, awareness events, managerial training, and e-learning resources.

Instagram Website

How does your period impact your exercise routine?

It makes me feel less motivated to do exercise and I can get dizzy and more tired when doing high impact exercise

Emma Forsyth

Founder of Award Winning Pilates Plus Dublin. Having trained in LA with Sebastien LaGree in 2006, PPD was the first studio of its kind outside of LA. It is one of the most exclusive and effective fitness studios in Dublin.

Instagram

Website

How does your period impact your exercise routine?

You will be able to exercise differently at each stage of your menstrual cycle. The first thing I would say is to start getting in tune with your body–understanding the physiological changes you go through and listening to your body is very important. Track your changes over a couple of cycles and you will start understanding better. Everyone’s cycle is different and many may not follow the average 28 day interval, but I’ll take that as an example. In general, it is a good idea to workout through your cycle as this can help alleviate some symptoms.

Days 1-5 when you have your period is when progesterone and oestrogen levels are lower and you can feel quite sluggish for a few days. Going easy on yourself at this stage is a good idea, but doing some light exercise can help. After this, leading into weeks 2 and 3 is when you will probably have the most energy, and is a good time for most people to exercise. You will probably be able to push yourself more. Once we ovulate, it’s not just oestrogen that decreases, but also serotonin. In the last couple of days of your cycle, when progesterone is highest, many people again feel quite sluggish. At this time, your core temperature can also rise, which can lead to people feeling as though they are sweating more. Always make sure to drink water throughout the day, not just during your workout, to keep hydrated.

Exercising can help with menstrual cramps as it gets your blood flowing, but remember that the most important rule is to listen to your body. There are also mental benefits to exercising that can help with the emotional side effects of our period and cycle.

Sanita Puspure

Three-time Olympian, Two-time World and European Champion professional rower.

Instagram

How does your period impact your exercise routine?

It doesn’t usually impact. I might feel a bit irritated.

Julie Morgan

Is an instructor in London Fight Factory and holds a black belt in Jiu-Jitsu and Judo black belt (2nd Dan).

Instagram Website

How does your period impact your exercise routine?

It doesn’t directly impact my exercise routine, but I, like everyone else, will feel more energised at different times due to many factors, including, for women, the menstrual cycle. It is always important to work out at a level to achieve overload without overreaching to an extent that leads to overtraining. This level changes, and all stressors AND our body’s ability to adapt to these stressors have an effect. Adequate nutrition affects our body’s ability to adapt to stressors.

Saba Stone

Is a registered Nutrition and Lifestyle Coach with UKHCA ( UK Health Coaches Association). Saba believes that small but wise and well-chosen lifestyle changes make a big impact.

Instagram Website

How does your period impact your exercise routine?

I listen to my body and  take it easy–after all I exercise to enjoy myself, not to suffer in pain. I go for reduced intensity exercises.

 

Amanda Grant

Is a Weight Loss Specialist that helps busy women lose weight without diets or restrictions.

Instagram Website

How does your period impact your exercise routine?

Hormonal fluctuations during the menstrual cycle can affect your exercise training and performance capacity. Therefore, it’s essential to stay in tune with your body and its exercise limits while on your period.

 

Olianna Gourlis

Studied Biomedical Sciences in University College London, with a focus in Anatomy and Physiology. As a Scientist and Nutritional Therapist she helps people with all sorts of chronic complaints and illnesses to change their diet and lifestyle so that they can optimise their health.

Instragram Website

How does your period impact your exercise routine?

It doesn’t really. In the luteal phase I try to do more gentle things, like yoga, pilates, walking rather than running, jumping or spinning.

 

Aifric Keogh 

Olympic medalist who competed in the women’s coxless four event at the 2020 Summer Olympics and won a bronze medal.

Instagram

How does your period impact your exercise routine?

The first day or two is usually quite uncomfortable. If I’m following a strict training program I unfortunately just have to grin and bear it! 

 

Terrie Pugh

Nutritional Therapist educating people about healthy eating and making informed choices when it comes to their diet & lifestyle, to suit their personal needs. Terrie specialises in gut health and digestive issues.

Instagram Website

How does your period impact your exercise routine?

Now that I have a healthier gut and more balanced hormones, I find I only need to adjust my exercise routine slightly around the week of my period.

 

Wendy Macleod

Pre & Post Natal Coach that supports women at every stage of their life.

Instagram Website

How does your period impact your exercise routine?

For the first few days of my period I can feel very heavy, bloated and low on energy and motivation. This usually lasts for the first couple of days when those symptoms begin to lift, I prefer more gentle movement during this time. 

 

Sinead Brophy

Women’s Wellbeing and Menstrual Cycle Coach who educates and empowers women to work with their bodies, and not against them.

Instagram Website

How does your period impact your exercise routine?

I consciously track my cycle and plan more downtime and restorative activities for the few days before and first few days of my period. 

For me, when I allow this time to be my natural deload week and focus on recovery and moving intuitively, I feel more rested and rejuvenated.

This means I can focus on hitting those higher intensities the following week when my oestrogen is up and I’m feeling more primed to take on stronger workouts.

 

Kirsty Harrison

Studied Nutritional Therapy at the London College of Naturopathic Medicine and is also Qualified Nutritional Therapist specialising in Women’s Health and Fertility.

Instagram Website

How does your period impact your exercise routine?

Your energy levels may not be as high–you may want to turn to more restful, restorative exercise. Exercise can help alleviate some of the symptoms that come with your period so I don’t think it should be avoided. Instead, listen to your body and perhaps switch to a more low intensity form of exercise. 

 

Anna Abubakar

Founder of Pilates Centre who has trained with some of the best instructors in the world. She completed the Advanced Teacher Training and Masters programmes with The Pilates Center in Boulder, Colorado.

Instagram Website

How does your period impact your exercise routine?

Often I find on the first day of my period, my body is asking me to rest, so if I had an advanced Pilates workout planned then I’ll do something more gentle, instead. 

Now, this is something I’ve  learned to listen to as I got older (I’m 40 later this year…). Back in my teens and 20’s I trained as a professional dancer and would spend 8 hours a day in the studio with no such option as a ‘period day off’. However, I would be EXHAUSTED!! So now that rest IS an option, I take it!

 

Claire Fudge

Clinical Dietician and Director of 4thDiscipline that leads consultations with professional athletes, clinical patients and sporty professionals to leverage knowledge and motivate behaviours to transform personal and athlete development.

Instagram Website

How does your period impact your exercise routine?

Different stages of the menstrual cycle may affect women differently but with the very complex interaction of hormones changes throughout the 4 phases of the cycle, some phases may have a direct impact on delayed recovery, such as during your period where both oestrogen and progesterone are low. 

Just after your period you may feel really revitalised and full of energy while your appetite may decrease, so it is important to make sure you still fuel your training and recovery. However, during ovulation and just before your period you may find you have less energy, lower mood, reduced recovery, a raised heart rate or even more laboured breathing; this is all to do with the changes in our hormones! So you may find training for strength or interval sessions feel harder, and you take longer to recover. 

What exercise(s) do you recommend when working out during your period?

During certain phases such as just before ovulation when your energy levels are raised, you may want to take advantage of high intensity intervals or lifting in the gym. At this time, it is important that you recover and repair well, by ensuring adequate carbohydrates and protein after your training sessions to allow for adaptation. Just before your period, light exercise may actually help reduce inflammation caused by the decrease in hormones, so training during this cycle may also help boost your mood, as well. Certain foods such as brightly coloured fruit and veg, omega 3 rich nuts and seeds, and oily fish such as salmon can all provide an anti-inflammatory effect to help with recovery. 

What should you watch out for/avoid when you exercise during your period?

It is a great idea for women to use a tracker via an app or on their phone to see how their cycle responds during different phases of training, and thus ensure that you are fueling adequately to avoid an energy deficit which may impact the period cycle. Although research is still relatively new and growing in this area, it has been postulated that during and just before ovulation, the changes in oestrogen may give rise to a higher incident of ligament and tendon injuries. So ensuring adequate warm up, and ensuring a good recovery fuelling plan may help to support ligaments and tendons during this phase. 

 

Olivia Beck

Certified Nutritionist with a MSc in Advanced Nutrition Research and Practice. Olivia utilises evidence-based research to tailor plans to suit your needs and lifestyle.

Instagram Website

How does your period impact your exercise routine?

I can feel lower in energy at certain times during my cycle and will reduce my load or increase my rest and recovery days if needed. For me, the week up to my period is when I feel most sluggish, and I don’t push myself too hard. But I know this is short lived and once I begin menstruating, I get a surge in energy again.

 

Claire O’Brien

Combines nutrition, health coaching and meditation to help clients find freedom from their symptoms, feel energised and achieve their health goals.

Instagram Website

How does your period impact your exercise routine?

Before, it was worse, and it had a huge impact on my exercise routine. Cramping, pain and terrible migraines before and during my period would just make it impossible for me to exercise. Thankfully with dietary and lifestyle changes, this is no longer the case. 

 

Evie Whitehead

Nutritional Therapist, gut health specialist that helps you reach your health potential through the power of food and natural solutions.

Instagram Website

How does your period impact your exercise routine?

I make sure that it doesn’t! I always feel the need for a little lighter breakfast before morning workouts when I am having my period, but it is the post-workout meal that I focus on to restore. Keep it balanced, include protein and plenty of greens for added magnesium, folate and fibre–all critical for maintaining good energy levels. 

 

Charlotte Schilcher

Studied at the Institute of Optimal Nutrition, in London and is a member of the British Association of Nutrition & Lifestyle Medicine and the Complementary & Natural Healthcare Council. Charlotte believes food can alleviate all sorts of chronic conditions and symptoms.

Instagram Website 

How does your period impact your exercise routine?

I go with how I’m feeling each month. If I’m fatigued or have cramps, I’ll skip the cardio but may stick to a gentle weights or yoga class. 

 

Rachel Graham

Is a Nutritional Therapist & Medicinal Chef with over 25 years Food & Nutrition experience. Her goal is to help women discover ways to consistently eat healthier and  feel better.

Instagram Website

How does your period impact your exercise routine?

I feel fatigued, often lacking energy to train at the same intensity. I also feel more sluggish, lacking even the motivation to train!

 

Crystal Nicholls

Certified Transformational Nutrition Coach and Certified Holistic Health Coach for high performers. Her aim is to help you boost your energy, stamina and confidence, so you can achieve your goals–without sacrificing your health.

Instagram Website

How does your period impact your exercise routine?

During your period, your body is shedding the endometrial lining, oestrogen and testosterone are low, and progesterone is very low. This makes me feel more tired, sore, and have lower levels of energy in general. 

 

Rachel Young

Pursuing her lifelong dream of nutrition and health, she wanted to understand the science behind the choices she had been implementing to improve her own health over the years and to empower others to do the same.  

Instagram Website

How does your period impact your exercise routine?

Hugely, go with how you feel on the days of it–with your own flow quite literally! Don’t make yourself exercise if you are tired or sore when you are menstruating..

 

Karine Patel

Registered Dietician Helping People Achieve Sustainable Results

Instagram Website

How does your period impact your exercise routine?

During the first two days of my period, my energy levels are slightly lower, but I keep my exercise routine the same. 

 

Julia Young

Julia always had a passionate interest in health and nutrition. After finding so much conflicting information on the subject, she decided to study nutrition. She qualified as a Diet and Nutrition advisor in 2011, and then trained as a Nutritional Therapist at the renowned Institute for Optimum Nutrition. She has since undertaken in-depth practitioner training to become a Fertility Specialist.

Instagram Website 

How does your period impact your exercise routine?

It depends on your symptoms. It’s important to listen to your body and not over exercise, as this can be a stressor on the body.

 

Nora Bartkeviciute

Is a Qualified Health Coach Specialist in holistic alternative medicine. Nora’s methods are to bring out people’s inner wisdom to their problems and to guide them step by step to achieve their goals.

Instagram Website

How does your period impact your exercise routine?

Since starting 8 years ago on a whole plant-based diet, including 4+ years of implementing Medical Medium health protocols (clean carbs: fruits, potatoes, squash, low-fat, dark leafy greens) my period has had no impact upon my daily exercise routine. What actually helps me during my period is that usually I will do slow movements, combined with functionality and mobility exercises or yoga, along with walking and breathing exercises. Sometimes I will even add some weights and do a kettlebell strength workout. 

 

Ciara Ryan 

Is a Nutritional Therapist that helps women achieve their health goals, clear unwanted symptoms and shift stubborn weight.

Instagram Website

How does your period impact your exercise routine?

In the week before my period I find that my energy dips and I don’t like to do intense exercise at this time, whereas the week after my period I feel much more up for exercising.  I think it’s important to follow the natural rhythms of our cycle.

 

Fernanda Betti Solano

Obtained a degree in Nutrition from the Public University of Ouro Preto in Brazil. Her philosophy is to empower women through food and acupuncture to achieve better health.

Instagram Website 

How does your period impact your exercise routine?

The coming of the period can impact our appetite and desire to eat certain foods.

 

Zoë Baker

Founder of FitState and Personal Trainer that helps busy women maintain a healthy, active lifestyle through making the right food choices and managing time to fit in exercise and meditation.

Instagram Website

How does your period impact your exercise routine?

Having my period doesn’t impact my exercise routines too much as I have fairly light periods from day 2, so just about manageable. I have, however, had the experiences of endurance events such as triathlons or endurance bike rides, and the key is to be prepared… where there’s a will, there’s a way.

 

Chantal Busson-Mitchell

Health Coach identifying where your pain points are, and helping you find ways to improve in all areas.The key is that everyone is different and Chantal educates, guides and supports you on your unique journey to optimal wellbeing.

Instagram Website 

How does your period impact your exercise routine?

Only a little.

 

Magdalena Marvell

Registered Nutrition Practitioner who graduated from the renowned Institute for Optimum Nutrition (ION). Persea Clinic is all about helping you to identify the underlying cause of your symptoms and investigate lifestyle factors, triggers, mediators, dietary patterns and their effect on your body.  

Instagram Website

How does your period impact your exercise routine?

My energy levels drop during menstruation due to a decrease in oestrogen, especially in the first few days of my period. Hormonal fluctuation during the menstrual cycle negatively affects my training and performance due to low energy and especially a lack of motivation to exercise. Increased muscle aches make my post-exercise recovery more difficult and prolonged. 

 

Jo Fazel

Jo is a Nutrition & Lifestyle Coach, certified Consistency Coach & founder of NuLeaf Lifestyle – specialising in empowering women going through menopause to harness the power of food & lifestyle change to better balance their hormones, soothe their symptoms & experience a more joyful transition

Instagram Website

How does your period impact your exercise routine?

I tend to have less energy and I may feel a little more bloated and uncomfortable.

 

Amanda Price

Health and Wellness Coach that helps women over 40 reduce their risk of developing chronic lifestyle diseases such as Type 2 Diabetes, dementia and heart disease.

Instagram Website

How does your period impact your exercise routine?

I am now post menopausal so I no longer have periods. However, in peri-menopause (the years before menopause), I found that I needed to avoid strenuous exercise during the first couple of days of my period, partly due to pain and partly due to a heavy flow. Being aware of where I was in my cycle helped me work out when were the best times for a long run or a harder gym workout. 

 

Linn Thorstensson

Nutritional Therapist and Body Image Coach helping women break free from the chains of dieting, restriction, bingeing and body loathing.

Instagram

How does your period impact your exercise routine?

Menstruation can affect our energy levels and allowing time for rest and recovery is important. 

 

Catie Gandhi

Health Coach that helps busy women regain their energy and lose weight permanently.

Instagram Website

How does your period impact your exercise routine?

There’s no specific need to stop exercising during your period, and in fact exercise can help to relieve some of the symptoms such as low mood, cramps, and tiredness. The main thing is to listen to your body, and consider adjusting the intensity/duration of your exercise if required.

 

Cathriona Hodgins

Qualified Nutritionist in Nutritional Therapy from the Irish Institute of Nutrition and Health, Dublin. Her mission is to help busy mums feel good and gain their confidence back.

Instagram Website

How does your period impact your exercise routine?

It depends. I listen to my body and see what it needs. My runs may be shorter but all exercise will have benefits at this time. The release of the feel-good endorphins can act as good pain relief.

 

Amanda Robinson

Founder of Health Steps that helps you achieve your health goals and put your own health at the top of the agenda. 

Instagram Website

How does your period impact your exercise routine?

It can be a time when I struggle to find the energy and motivation to want to do it. 

 

Andrea Cullen

Founder of A-C Health Solutions that aims to help people restore their health and along the journey learn how to nurture, respect and nourish their bodies. 

Instagram Website

How does your period impact your exercise routine?

Short answer, I let my period guide the way. And now here’s an honest and longer answer to shine a light on some “period issues” commonly seen in active women. Up until aged 38, I had what would be described as amenorrhoea and oligomenorrhea–meaning that I had very erratic and infrequent cycles. The lack of cycle, which was for diverse physiological and emotional reasons (but nothing sinister), meant that I had no real symptoms at all, or any sense of a cycle. I was also very disconnected to my body; she did what I said, in other words. A woman’s cycle is a beautiful thing to be honoured. Since 38, I have regular periods and I had to learn thick and fast about cycles, what my body was telling me, how to nourish my body for sport and health and how to best train for optimal performance. 

Notable symptoms were just feeling a bit heavier and slower and sometimes hotter premenstrually. Then from day one on, feeling like superwoman. I would also feel ovulation, and have a dip on day 11, and again on day 21. I work WITH this and do not force through, and I keep a track on my training software. I never let racing or training on my period bother me because I knew my hormone levels were at their best for peak race performance. If I had a race or training in the last 10 days before a bleed, I learned to expect to be a bit hotter, a bit more needy of salts and a bit more prone to low blood sugar levels. I allowed my body to educate me about my needs. I also don’t worry if my pace is a little off. What matters is the effort and consistency. 

Symptoms are INFORMATION, and I listened. In 2019 I went through a prolonged ectopic pregnancy. My body was very different after it, and it was a very confusing time for me as an active person racing triathlons. I was fatigued for no obvious reasons for MONTHS, and I had deep abdominal pain for no obvious reasons. I worked on my emotions and I did my best to let the body guide my training. 

Sometimes as women we sense and know our bodies better than any science or any medical tests can tell us, and working with how we feel and how the body is moving is so very important. The recovery took way longer than I ever thought, and I adapted my training load and volume and expectations as graciously as I could. The body led the way. So for all the science that we have on periods and cycles and training and performance, for all the apps and trackers, I strongly feel that if we listen to the body, her signs and food cravings, her fatigue, mood, and energy levels, then that is the biggest most important thing any of us can do as empowered active ladies. 

 

Gaby Cabrera-Kimchi

Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach empowering moms to optimise their health, harness their hormones and end burnout.

Instagram Website

How does your period impact your exercise routine?

Hugely! Our hormones ebb and flow throughout the month. Women have a second biological clock known was the infradian rhythm aka menstrual cycle. Period or menstruation is only one of 4 phases of the menstrual cycle. Each phase is characterized by shifting levels of sex hormones which impact a woman’s biochemistry, performance, cognition, metabolism, digestion, brain and nervous system. I sync and alter my nutrition, lifestyle, work and movement routines with each phase to support my hormones and overall health. This practice is known as cycle-syncing and is a main pillar of my signature 1:1 health coaching programme.

 

Rachael Jordan

Nutritional Therapist and Herbalist that aims to help people get to know their own body and what works best for them.

Instagram Website 

How does your period impact your exercise routine?

When I have my period I take it as an opportunity to slow down and honour my body. Instead of doing my regular HIIT workout I do a breathing exercise followed by a gentle to moderate yoga routine. I listen to my body and do what feels good. Our body needs to stretch, it’s so great for keeping our muscles & joints healthy and aids in detoxification. So I take my period as an opportunity to get my deep stretch practice in.

 

Charlotte Scherders

Holistic Health Coach and Registered Nurse that helps driven and overwhelmed women become more health conscious and make sustainable choices.

Instagram Website

How does your period impact your exercise routine?

I experience abdominal cramps in my lower abdomen when my period starts and at times I experience fatigue prior to period and the first few days of my period. It depends how I feel, as I am training for a half marathon and have a training planned, I do the training but listen to my body and not push myself as much. Most of the time the fatigue is not affecting my training and I don’t feel the abdominal cramps during my run (endorphins?)

Doing yoga always gives me a good feeling during and afterwards.

 

Anita Andor

Online Nutrition Coach that helps women over 30 with stressful lifestyles to feel whole again by making the right food and lifestyle choices.

Instagram Website

How does your period impact your exercise routine?

I have less stamina and not feeling up to anything that involves jumping. Gentle exercising is more beneficial during these times.

 

Katie Illingworth

Registered Nurse and Body Positive Coach supporting bigger bodied people in reclaiming their confidence to manage their health to thrive through life.

Instagram Website

How does your period impact your exercise routine?

Less energy, lower impact, rest days.

 

Ashleigh Salter

Qualified Health Coach, and the Owner and Founder of Temple Health that helps to improve your health and make it manageable for you to succeed.

Instagram Website 

How does your period impact your exercise routine?

Hormones largely dictate how your body feels around your period. The balance of each individual’s hormones is what determines their own period story. For me, I have light cramping, feel quite tired and more inclined to snuggle up with a cup of tea and a good book. Feeling tired and less energetic is very common due to progesterone and oestrogen being at their lowest during your period. That said, it doesn’t have to impact an exercise routine, it can just alter the focus for those few days. I prefer more gentle exercising during this time, to include fresh air and movement, but not at an intense level. 

 

Eavan Fitzsimons

Nutrition and Health Coach that worked 10 years as a Performance Coach with a Scottish Competitive Swimming Club. Eavan’s passion is to help people achieve their health, diet, and lifestyle goals.

Instagram Website

How does your period impact your exercise routine?

The first couple of days may feel a little uncomfortable so I avoid high intensity exercise

 

Malika Idouaddi

Health and Nutrition Coach helping type 2 diabetic women achieve remission.

Instagram Website

How does your period impact your exercise routine?

Period is a profound cleansing process that us women experience every month which often is accompanied with cramps, pain, fatigue and mood swings. I look at menstruation as one of these times of the month where I need to prioritise rest as the body naturally calls for it. Therefore, I choose to adapt my exercise routine during the days leading to a cycle and the first two days of the cycle.

 

Sarah Marling

Founder of the Nutrition and Wellness Centre and passionate about nutrition. After many years of researching and learning about how to fuel her own body to optimise the quality of her life and longevity, her goal now is to share this knowledge and help other women to do the same.

Instagram Website

What exercise(s) do you recommend when working out during your period?

I always say that any kind of movement is better than no movement, so just listen to your body and do what feels right! You might be feeling more tired due to your oestrogen and progesterone being at their lowest when you are menstruating, so you might only feel as though you have the energy for a gentle walk or some relaxing yoga poses, but there is no reason why you can’t do a high intensity session if your body feels up to it. 

 

Eszter Dara

A Health and Wellbeing Coach that optimises your health through lasting positive lifestyle changes. Received health coaching education from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition based in New York, and is trained also in Gut Health, Emotional Eating Psychology, the 3 Brains Coaching method and Mental Health First Aid.

Website 

How does your period impact your exercise routine?

Years ago I used to follow the same exercise routine throughout the month, not being aware of the hormonal shifts impacting my body. However, over the past couple of years I got more in tune with the natural rhythm of my body, and started to match my exercise and diet to the hormonal fluctuations. I tend to do gentle and slower paced workouts during my period–such as walking, slow yoga flow, pilates–while during the rest of the month I do more dynamic and strenuous physical activity. This change has positively impacted my energy levels and mood, and even resulted in less cramps.

 

Nicola Brown

Is a Pain Specialist Physiotherapist, Health Coach and Founder of Integrative Physiotherapy. Nicola works with people experiencing persistent pain, who desire a fulfilling and enjoyable life, with the confidence and freedom to move towards their values.

Website 

How does your period impact your exercise routine?

I will choose to go to a yoga class or for a walk, and find that listening to my body is key. Doing more intense exercise, for example a HITT workout, leaves me feeling quite depleted. 

 

Dr Joyce Reed

After a 12-year career in the NHS working as a hospital doctor and paediatrician she moved on to partner with her husband Prof Mark Reed in their academic training company. During the pandemic she realised supporting people with their health and wellbeing was still a deeply held desire, and she enrolled in the CNM Health Coach Diploma, graduating in July 2021.

Website

How does your period impact your exercise routine?

My period is no longer!  I had the Mirena coil fitted for heavy menstrual bleeding around the time I was going through an early menopause. So I think there are two points I’d like to make here: Firstly, it is possible to vastly improve menstrual symptoms with great lifestyle and exercise choices, which I certainly did in abundance, and they really helped.  It is super important to treat yourself and your body with respect with healthy food, appropriate movement and plenty of rest.  Medical treatments are not a substitute for this.  

Secondly however, if your period really is getting you down and unmanageable despite your best efforts with diet and lifestyle, then seek support. Naturopathic and conventional medical support is out there and a fantastic add-on to lifestyle. Don’t suffer in silence, seek the help you deserve if you’ve tried everything. I had to face up to this, as despite my best efforts the symptoms were simply too much to cope with. I wanted the least invasive treatment possible, but I still am very clear about making sure my lifestyle and exercise choices support my hormone profile, and celebrating womanhood in all its monthly stages!

Having said all of this, I found that I had to accept that for one week every month my exercise and activity routine had to flex around my symptoms. I think for some of us this is key.  I saw it as a chance to do different types of exercise and build my body back up, but crucially not to stop moving, as this can make cramps and pain worse. I chose the right type of exercise, listening to my body all the time.

 

Conclusion

Wow! What an amazing collection of useful advice. Periods can take the fun away a little, but it doesn’t have to stay that way. Next time you feel under the weather during your period, try out some of the health and fitness tips shared by our experts. Don’t forget to support your iron levels throughout your cycle with our Active Iron supplement.

About Avril Flynn

Avril Flynn is a registered midwife and mum of one. As an expert in women’s health, Avril has been helping women gain knowledge and confidence for years. She takes a holistic approach to ensure parents feel empowered as they navigate parenthood.@AvrilTheMidwife

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