Managing Sport Throughout Your Cycle
The way you feel in your body can make a big difference to the sport you want to, or are capable of doing in that very moment. Whether this is that you feel really strong and are able to go on a long run or lift heavy weights, or if you are feeling sick or weak and cannot handle more than a light walk. The hormones throughout your entire menstrual cycle can affect the way that you feel in your body, and also your current emotional state. That in turn, can make you feel like exercising more or less, and adapting your routine to the way you feel.
Is it OK to exercise during your menstrual cycle?
Scientifically, it is 100% ok to exercise during your menstrual cycle and when you are on your period. Some women report lower energy levels during their period, whilst others have more energy during this time. This is mostly to do with hormone changes. Those who are on hormonal birth control will likely not feel as much of a change in energy levels due to the balancing of the hormones from the treatment. For some people, they suffer from side effects leading up to, and during their period such as PMS. This can be in the form of painful cramps, agitated mood, low energy and more. These symptoms will most likely affect the way in which you want to exercise during this time of the month.
How does my energy level change during my period?
The menstrual cycle runs over 4 weeks in which the hormones levels change and can influence your energy levels.
Week 1: This is kicked off by the first day of your period, in which your estrogen and progesterone levels are at their lowest point and slowly rise throughout the period. This slow rise in hormone levels may gradually make you feel like you have more energy and more motivation to do sport.
Week 2: As your period ends, your energy levels will continue to rise, especially estrogen as it is preparing you for ovulation. Here you may feel a higher level of energy and motivation. This is the best time to go on that long run or try for a personal best in a race.
Week 3: This is the week of ovulation in which estrogen levels peak, leaving an energy high, followed by a sudden drop after ovulation in which progesterone begins to rise. With this swap in hormone levels, you can begin feeling less energetic and motivated to do sport. During this time, it may be beneficial to do your sport activities in the morning, when you have extra energy.
Week 4: In the last week of your cycle your energy levels will be falling some more as both estrogen and progesterone are dropping. PMS symptoms might get heavy which could lead to side effects that reduce both your energy and motivation. Be gentle with yourself! Reduce the intensity of workouts and focus on things that make you feel good.
Which exercise should I avoid during my period?
You do not need to avoid any exercise during your period. You might want to consider however the best exercise to match your mood, motivation, and energy. Whether that is the need for fast and furious cardio, or calming yoga- listen to your body!
Which exercise is best to do during your period?
There is no right or wrong, however researchers have found that some women have fewer painful cramps during menstruation if they exercise regularly. So, whilst you might not feel in the best mood, it could help you find a little relief for those annoying cramps.
Does menstruation affect sport performance?
There is no evidence to suggest that menstruation dramatically affects your ability to do sport throughout the menstrual cycle, however there was a study that found that women who had already ovulated but not yet started their period (weeks 3-4) had a harder time exercising, particularly in hot weather.
What menstrual products are best to use when doing sport on your period?
It depends greatly on your flow and the sport activity you are doing. If you have a heavy flow and are doing a long endurance workout or a heavy HIIT workout, you might want to have extra secure protection. In this case we recommend wearing our dais Hipster period underwear along with a menstrual cup or a tampon to ensure you have no leaks. If you are swimming, a tampon might be your best option, as it functions well in water versus alternative products. If you are just experiencing a normal flow, regardless of your exercise, then a pair of dais period underwear will be a great product to use. They are seamless so no one will see them underneath your leggings, and they hold up to 4 tampons worth of blood so they can be worn for all types of sports.