Whether or not we should workout is out of question with the current lifestyle we lead.
Workout is not a choice. Even if you belong to 10-15% of women who have PCOS or the rest who get regular periods (25-35 days), workout shall help in improving health.
Women are hormonally vibrant and so our hormones, energy, appetite are not the same even on any two days of our menstrual cycle.
If our energy, stamina and pain tolerance changes through the menstrual cycle, doesn’t it make sense to change our workout according to that?
Optimizing our activities according to cycle will help in getting better results and fat burn as we know what to focus on and when.
This article divides the menstrual cycle (28days) into 4 weeks. For those who don’t have regular periods, consider the time of bleeding as week 1, time around PMS as week 4 and the rest of the days as week 2 & 3. You could also use an ovulation kit or track basal body temperature or vaginal discharge to know when you ovulate. Soon after ovulation is week 3 .
Week 1 : During the period
Whether or not you should workout during your periods is a personal question. There is no objective ( yes/no) answer for that. It depends on one’s body, how they feel during their period and how long they have been working out for. Generally, if a woman has been training right ( with respect to time/duration/fuel/recovery and intensity) periods and working out during periods will not cause much discomfort. Nevertheless, light workout is recommended and starting something new, increasing intensity/duration or workouts with inversions are to be avoided at any cost.
Week 2 : Soaring high
Either in week 2 or towards end of week1 as the bleeding stops, the energy levels will soar. Evolutionarily this is the time when women are fertile, look more attractive, have high energy, stamina and pain tolerance .
This is the time to intensify workout, try new workouts, increase duration etc as our hormones and body will support us through this.
Working out at this time will help reduce PMS and other discomfort during periods.
Week 3 : Embrace the change
Soon after ovulation, the energy levels starts dropping. Continuing the workout with same intensity as week 2 is fine as long as your body is able to cope up with it. If the recovery and energy levels are reducing , closer to the end of week 3 reduce the intensity of workout.
Week 4 : PMS week?
This is the week when PMS kicks in for most women, as energy levels hit rock bottom, anger, irritability reach new heights. The feel to cut off from any physical activity might be overwhelming. These symptoms will reduce within a few months of working out and eating right. If PMS and periods discomfort has not reduced in a few months of lifestyle change, it means that there is something still not right.
Focus on keeping your activity levels and work on your flexibility this time.
For a beginner even 5 rounds of suryanamaskar and few minutes of walking will improve energy, mood and reduce PMS . For those who have trained their body for more than 3 years, it is recommended to reduce the intensity of workout and listen to the body.
The basic idea of workout or any physical activity is not to exhaust you, but to energise you so that you can focus on things that are important to you.