Sana Sharma and her daughter, Shipra, 12, visited us with concerns related to periods. Shipra was a basketball player who not only played for her school’s team but also participated in interstate competitions.
“Now that she has started menstruating, how will she be able to participate in sports activities?” asked Sana, “I fear that she won’t be able to do much physical work on such days”, she added.
“There is really no reason for your daughter to skip physical exercise during periods,” said Dr Anita Sabherwal, Consultant Gynecologist at Sitaram Bhartia Hospital in Delhi.
Still anxious, Sana brought up more questions.
Does Exercise During Periods Make You Weak?
“This is a common misconception and one that is definitely not true”, explained Dr Anita. “Normally, you lose only about 70 to 90 ml of blood within a span of 4 to 5 days. It’s a very small quantity and has no effect on your metabolism.”
“It is natural to feel weak and have lower stamina during periods. By exercising you can actually overcome this feeling of fatigue”.
Can Exercise Make Your Period Heavier?
“Exercising does not make your period heavier.”
“The more you exercise during periods, the more relaxed your muscles are and the lesser cramps you experience,” explained Dr Anita.
Sana relaxed a little when she heard the doctor’s response.
“Most girls can continue with their regular exercise during periods” reassured Dr Anita.
Exercise could actually help you deal with pain and related problems better by:
Reducing pain and fatigue by releasing endorphin hormones: While exercising your body releases endorphin hormones which help reduce pain, mood swings, fatigue and anxiety.
Exercising also improves blood circulation in the pelvic area, again, leading to lesser period cramps.
Regulating Irregular Periods: “While exercising might seem like a burden, it is actually one way to get your periods on track,” says Dr Anita. For irregular or overdue periods, exercise plus a right diet of fruits like papaya, pineapple and parsley can help regulate the menstrual cycle.
Sana was relieved to hear of the numerous benefits of exercise during periods. The doctor’s calm and confident approach prompted Shipra to ask some of her concerns.
What Exercises To Do While On Your Period?
“I have to exercise a lot during practice. What type of exercises will I be able to do?” asked Shipra.
“There are no such restrictions on the type of exercises you can do” highlighted DrAnita.
“You can take up any exercise that you’re comfortable doing. Light cardio exercise during periods can be very helpful in relaxing your muscles”.
Is Walking Good During Periods?
“Yes, you can definitely go for strolls or walks during periods. You can even cycle or continue dance classes if you want.”
Is It Okay To Do Squats While On Period?
“How will I be able to do squats? Won’t that be painful?”, asked Shipra.
“If squats have been a part of your normal routine, you can continue doing them without worrying at all!”
“Just make sure you stay well hydrated during exercise as your body loses a lot of water which can make you feel dizzy and weak”, she added.
Is There Any Exercise That Should Be Avoided During Periods?
“Are there any exercises that should be avoided?”, asked Sana who was still worried.
“Even though yoga is a very effective exercise during periods, some yoga poses should be avoided at all costs,” states Dr Anita. “Inverted yoga poses like headstands, shoulder stands and plough pose are the ones you need to avoid. These lead to heavy menstrual flow.”
According to Dr Anita, there is no reason to not follow your regular exercise routine while on period. “You can do the same things that you do on every other day.”
“That said, if you are feeling particularly uncomfortable, there is no need to push yourself. Sometimes laying low and resting is all your body needs to charge up and get you in good spirits.”
This discussion helped Sana and her daughter clear their doubts and they decided to continue Shipra’s usual exercise routine even during periods.
Have more questions on exercise during periods? Leave us a comment below and we’ll get right back to you.