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The Complete Guide to Working Out On Your Period
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February 1, 2021

Hey guys!

Do you normally stick to your workouts during your period? I mean, who REALLY wants to workout when they’re tired, crampy, bloated and emotional. Ugh. Seems like the perfect week to rest, right? 

But did you know that exercise can actually help with period symptoms? It’s true! 

The catch is figuring out what kind of exercise works best for you. Here are some tips for how to work out and feel great on your period. 

Working out really does help! 

I know. All you want to do is lay in the fetal position and snack until your uterus is more cooperative. But what if I told you that finding ways to work out on your period could actually help calm things down?! 

Mood swings – You’ve heard that exercise gives you a boost of endorphins, right?! Getting your heart rate up a little can release enough of this magical neurochemical to lift your spirits and make you feel happier.

Cramps – Endorphins are also natural pain relievers. WHAT?! So exercise could actually relieve dreaded period pain.

Fatigue – It sounds really weird, but staying active through your period might help you feel LESS tired.

Bloating – There’s never a good time to be bloated. But did you know exercise helps your digestive system keep moving, therefore preventing bloat? SIGN ME UP! 

Headache – Ugghh not sure which is worse – the cramps or the headache?! Some people find that light exercise is a lifesaver for headache relief.

The best exercises for working out on your period

Find something that makes you feel good, even if it’s not the workouts you’re used to. Switching it up won’t slow down your progress – it could actually help! Overall, the point is to keep moving and feel your best.

Pilates – Pilates is awesome during your period because you can go at your own pace. There are plenty of ways to modify, slow down, and do what feels good. One study found that Pilates literally helps to balance brain chemicals and alleviate PMS symptoms. So cool! 

Walking – When you want to move, but don’t FEEL like moving… go on a walk. Outside, if possible! Walking gets your heart rate just enough to lift your spirits and boost your energy. It can calm your moodiness and increase circulation to help soothe any cramping.

Yoga – An upbeat vinyasa flow might feel good during your period. If not, opt for a gentle, restorative flow where you can focus on muscle recovery, breathing and centering. Whatever style you choose can help with anxiety, headaches, and back pain.

Swimming – Umm, does anything sound better than being totally weightless while you’re on your period?! If you deal with cramping and painful bloating, swimming is an amazing way to stay active. 

Light Weight Training – Skip the heart-pumping HIIT or cardio workouts during your period and work on strength instead. Choose lighter weights if you need to, and focus on what feels good. For example, deep squats and crunches miiiight not feel great right now. So maybe focus on the upper body instead. 

Set yourself up for success to work out on your period! 

First, try to eat as well as you can. Avoid the foods that make you even MORE bloated. Eat lots of colorful fruits and veggies that fight inflammation. And as always, HYDRATE! 

Sleep is important too. If you’re not getting enough, then your body is likely stressed. That’s only going to make your period symptoms worse and working out will feel harder. 

What you wear is important too! If the clothes you normally workout in feel tight and uncomfortable, pick a new outfit. A little swelling and bloating are normal during your period, so don’t sweat about your favorite stuff feeling a little snug. Go for comfort! 

Your period products make a huge difference for comfort too. Bulky and uncomfortable products can be suuuuuuper annoying and distracting during a workout. Plus, you might not feel fully protected during your workout. It’s definitely worth experimenting with different products until you find something that works for you!

Listen to your body

Listen. This is not the time to hit a PR or expect leaps of progress. Remember to go with what your body needs and adjust your intensity IF you need to! 

There’s not a reason you HAVE to rest during your period. Actually, just giving some movement a try might actually make you feel better! If you’re having trouble feeling motivated, try thinking of the ways it could help.

BUT if your body is craving some rest, you should take it without guilt. Remember, rest and recovery are key for progress. If you struggle to incorporate those rest days or just relax (ahem, like me), then dedicate some time to rest during your period. You’ll reap the benefits when you’re ready to get back to working hard.

25 thoughts on “The Complete Guide to Working Out On Your Period”

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  1. Alice says:

    Thank you for sharing the information.
    This list is just what I was looking for! I have read your post and this is amazing work. I love to read your post and it’s really helpful and motivated.

  2. Drained by Periods says:

    Dear Cassey,
    Thank you for everything you do! I would really appreciate some guidance about navigating food and nutrition when on extended periods. I have the implant as a method of contraception and I go 6-8 months without my period but when I get my period, it’s one week on, one week off, for 3+ months. It’s very emotionally and mentally draining as much as it is physically draining, and I feel like I’m constantly fighting a losing battle with my hormones about food and nutrition, then feeling guilty every time I lose the battle. I really want to have a positive relationship with food, my body, and my health.
    Thank you so much,
    Drained by Periods

  3. Lauren says:

    Hi Casey!

    I have a request for the queen of abs and research! I am currently 32 weeks pregnant and on behalf of all the expectant mothers in your fitness community, I would like to ask you to consider doing one or two workout videos (with a special focus on abs!) for pregnant mommies! Pregnancy necessarily comes with major changes but it is just as important (or maybe even more important than usual) to stay fit and healthy.

    However, not all workouts accommodate a growing tummy and I have found it particularly challenging to find exercises that work the abs supporting baby! Working this muscle group is so important for moms because it decreases back and joint pain, promotes a safer and easier delivery, as well as helping mom have a quicker postpartum recovery with fewer complications such as diastasis recti. You are the queen of abs and research as I said before and I would trust the ab exercises you recommend. It is a lot to ask because there isn’t a lot of information out there covering this topic in particular, but it would be very interesting to see what you come across.

    Sincerely,

    A pregnant popster

  4. During the menstrual cycle, women going through so much pain and their mood also changes. Your information is much useful for me as well as other ladies, thanks for sharing the good information with us keep sharing!!!

  5. Tayla says:

    Yoga has been the number one way to help with intense period pain! I find ab workouts an absolute no go during haha

  6. Rene Loskot says:

    Stretching helped me w/ my back pain. during my menstrual

  7. ReneLoskot says:

    stretching helps the pain during periods, it help me when I was on mine.

  8. DisneyPrincessPopster says:

    I’m just really gassy during my period so I resume my workouts as usual. I just have to make sure I am wearing a super coverage pad! On the other hand like another comment below–my sister deals with intense cramps that had her staying home from school sometimes, so I do count myself fortunate. We should never use our periods as an excuse to not move & be useful, even if its just walking some miles

  9. Irene M. says:

    Well, for me the two first period days are always rest days since the pain is so severe that I can’t even stand. So if you can use your body during your periods, be grateful.

    1. Dunja says:

      Same here Irene! Hot pillows help!

  10. Marissa says:

    I always always try to keep up with the workouts while on my period and I can confirm it does help, keeps my mind busy complaining about the workout instead of focusing on the pain! Haha

  11. Sophia says:

    I dance ,and just got mine back after three years. And it sucks! But working out does help but its really hard to deal with as a dancer 🙁

  12. Atara says:

    Would love a youtube video for a period workout

  13. Bella says:

    I’m 16 and still haven’t gotten my period yet but thanks for the tips 😂 💕

  14. Geethika Balasa says:

    Today I just got my periods…. and I thought that I’m not gonna do any workout until I get off this😅 but just now I saw this article and I was like dude r they really workouts we can do even in our periods I was shooked 😂

    1. blogilates says:

      It’s a sign!!! Hahaha

      1. Isha Harangulkar says:

        Hahaha😆😆

  15. Melissa says:

    Thanks Cassey! I remember when I saw a video of yours about exercises to do on your period and I remember you saying if you’re in pain, let your muscles relax. There’s no shame in resting if you need to. Have a lovely day and be safe!

  16. JP says:

    My period literally happened yesterday and this article just called for me! I do want to try pilates but I wonder which one to do for period… Any suggestions?

    1. Hathaitip says:

      Try the flexibility workouts JP! The gentle twists and stretches gets the blood flowing > reduces cramps and also makes you feel refreshed after warming up your body a little. Stretching is easier in the evening because your muscles have been awake all day. All the best!

  17. Emily says:

    Great tips! I agree, going for a little walk in the fresh air (if it’s safe right now for you to do so) is a great way to clear my head and get myself moving when I don’t want to! Xx

  18. Lili says:

    This is exactly what I needed right now to know hahaha!

    1. eve says:

      ahhh same😄 gluck gurl💗🖤u got this🤙🏽

  19. Arianne🦋 says:

    This is so timely for me especially shark week😂💕Thanks Fam

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