Understandably, many women opt to skip workouts during menstruation. But evidence suggests that low-impact activities like taking a walk can boost mood and reduce period symptoms like cramping and bloating. Research even suggests that a woman’s lungs are more efficient and work better towards the end of menstruation.
2. Find some zen with yoga
The idea that periods are stressful moments in life isn’t foreign for most women. If fluctuating hormones are causing more stress, consider incorporating time for low-impact yoga exercises. In addition to improving flexibility, yoga also focuses on breathwork and mindfulness. But an added benefit is that the exercises help to stretch muscles and ease painful period symptoms. Specifically, yoga poses such as cobra, cow, cat, and fish can help reduce discomfort most frequently associated with the first few days of a woman’s period. For best results, attempt the poses after taking a shower or bath, and hold each pose between 30-60 seconds.
3. The pelvic tuck
For women who don’t have the time or energy to go to the gym, the pelvic tuck is a simple floor exercise done at home. The most significant benefit of performing the pelvic tuck is that the exercise helps to relieve lower back pain, a common discomfort associated with periods. To complete the move, lay on the floor with knees bent. Keep the feet apart, slightly wider than hip-width. In controlled movements, slowly lift hips off the floor, hold the position, and then lower the hips. The goal is to slowly lower the back onto the floor, one vertebra at a time.
4. Banish back pain with the reclined bound angle
Unsurprisingly, back pain is one of the most significant discomforts mentioned with periods, after menstrual cramps. The reclined bound angle exercise is another great floor exercise that fights back pain and doesn’t require anything more than space to lie flat on the ground and a tightly rolled blanket. Lay on top of the tightly rolled blanket so that the blanket is parallel with the spine and ends at the sacrum, or the triangular bone in the lower back. Start in a seated position with legs slightly bent and angled with the knees open. Exhale, lean back onto the floor and rolled blanket, while keeping arms open with palms facing up. Hold the position for 3-5 minutes and focus on taking deep cleansing breaths.
When to consider seeing a doctor
Menstrual pain may be a part of life, but for some women, the problem is so severe as to interrupt daily activities. Dysmenorrhea can either be a condition that occurs at the onset of a woman’s first period, or something that develops because of an underlying medical condition later in life. But women don’t have to suffer in silence. If a woman is experiencing severe period pain that interferes with regular life, speak to a physician to get a thorough diagnosis and to create a customized treatment plan.