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Should I Exercise While on My Period?

When you are on your period, you may have cramps and feel bloated and irritable. The last thing you may want to think about is exercise. However, you can and should exercise before and during your period. Not only is exercise beneficial for a healthy lifestyle and when you have premenstrual syndrome, it can also help relieve cramps associated with your period because of the release of pain-relieving endorphins, according to the book "Home Doctor" by Dr. Michael Peters.

Exercise can help you feel better during and before your period. If you exercise regularly, you will reap the benefits of exercise at all times of the month. Premenstrual syndrome, or PMS, can affect women of all ages and usually involves a pattern of physical and mood changes that occur about five days prior to your period. Fatigue and depression are common PMS symptoms. According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, aerobic exercise can lessen PMS symptoms. For example, it can reduce feelings of fatigue and depression. Aerobic exercise includes activities such as fast walking, running, bicycling and swimming.

When it comes to exercising during your period, one of the biggest reasons your mood may be dampened may be the presence of menstrual cramps. Cramps are caused by uterine contractions that squeeze blood out of the uterus. Contractions are caused by prostaglandins, which in high amounts may also cause nausea and mild dizziness. Cramps are completely normal and are usually easily relieved with over the counter medications and relaxation techniques. Some women like to exercise because of the potential for pain relief. So exercise is not forbidden during your period and may provide some cramp relief.

Dysmenhorrea is the medical term for excessively painful periods. Some pain during your period is normal, but excessive pain isn't. This type of pain may cause a woman to be unable to perform normal activities and miss work or school. Dysmenhorrea can occur due to excessive hormone activity or as a result of a medical problem. Consult a doctor if pain associated with your period is excessive and prevents you from doing activities. According to the National Institutes of Health's MedlinePlus service, walking or exercising regularly, especially pelvic rocking exercises, might help you avoid prescription pain medications.

Doing certain yoga poses might help with period pain. Yoga postures such as the cobra pose and the bow pose are gentle movements that might help relieve cramps because they help reduce uterine contractions, indicates BecomeGorgeous.com. The poses are especially helpful when they are combined with deep breathing techniques. BecomeGorgeous.com cautions that you should avoid vigorous exercise and inverted yoga postures during your period as they can increase blood flow due to vascular congestion. Consult a yoga instructor for information about specific poses.

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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.