Are you wondering if there are any special “rules” or tips for working out on your period? Today I discuss getting your workout in even if you’re getting a visit from Aunt Flo! Note: This post contains affiliate links.
Working out on your period is a topic that was suggested to me by a reader.
And I think it’s a good one!
Since the entire female population has to deal with this, I don’t know why I haven’t talked about it before!
But can I just take a little moment to rant?
First of all, let’s just talk about how weird and annoying periods are the year after you have a baby.
I was told that I wouldn’t get mine back until I stopped breastfeeding, but I would consider that myth BUSTED. I got my period back within three months of giving birth with BOTH kids, even though I was breastfeeding. I was eager to get back to the gym but this made it extra frustrating!
Plus after that, it was all wonky and confused for almost a whole year after making it’s return. (Did that happen with yours after having a baby? How did you go about working out with your period in that first year?)
But what I want to talk about is working out on your period if you have really uncomfortable periods.
I’m sure no one has GREAT periods (lol), but mine are really, really, uncomfortable.
I had my tubes tied after this last c-section, and my doc told me that things might be “PINCHY” for awhile.
I had NO idea that pinchy would mean that it feels like there is a tiny demon pinching my uterus, tubes, and ovaries during my periods.
Yes, I get pinchy demon cramps.
Nothing like pinchy demon cramps when working out on your period. 😉
Of course, it’s hard to know how much of it is from scar tissue from the removal & severing of parts of my body. That’s right, I had a complete tubal where they removed the little weird finger-looking things (fimriae?) from the ends of your tubes. (They showed me them in a beaker later!)
Anyway, my pinchy demon cramps are unlike any other period-related pain I have ever had. It’s sharp.
And it has literally brought me to my knees and made me feel like I wanted to throw up before.
I know it doesn’t sound normal, but I’m told it’s pretty common in the first few months. It was the worst during my first few months postpartum, and I think it’s improving.
Anyway, these cramps have made it hard to want to work out on my period!
So since I know a lot of you can relate to working out on your period despite the discomfort, let’s talk about that. For those of you who don’t know, I am a personal trainer, so working out regularly is a big part of my life. Taking an entire week off from working out isn’t really an option, so these tips for working out on your period are just personal ideas. 🙂 I hope they help!
9 Tips For Working Out On Your Period
1. Listen to your body.
Honestly there are days that you SHOULD take off! If you are borderline sick or things feel extra tight, your body might need a break. If you are feeling sick/crampy enough to skip work or other regularly scheduled activities, I’d also take a break from working out for one day. Otherwise, if you aren’t sure, I’d opt for a low-impact activity like walking or yoga.
2. Moving you body a little is better than nothing.
You don’t have to go run a half-marathon or have a heavy lifting day to get a good workout. I’d consider walking for 30 minutes a workout because it really is better than nothing. You kind of have to decide if you are using your period as an excuse or if it’s really impacting you. Either way, moving your body will help with digestion, sore muscles, and could potentially help with cramping. So just remember that even 30 minutes is “worth it!”
3. Try a sports-specific tampon or pad.
They make great feminine products that are super helpful for working out on your period. (I like Playtex Sport.) If you haven’t tried a sports or movement related tampon or pad, you really should! They are designed to prevent leaks but are often a little more comfortable. I absolutely have to use these because when I move a lot I tend to leak more, which have made me want to skip the gym in the past. Not anymore!
4. Drink extra water.
Bloating is sooo annoying during your period, right? Drinking extra water might sound counterintuitive, but it’s actually going to help. Water is going to help your body “move” things along and it’s going to help with sodium. High sodium influences fluid retention, so if you don’t drink enough, you’re going to stay bloated. If you’re working out on your period, this can be super uncomfortable! Drink up!
5. Allow yourself to take a pain killer.
Working out on your period can be mildly painful, I get it! I don’t personally like to take pain medication unless my cramps are interfering with my ability to take care of my family or day-to-day activities. But you better believe that I have taken the occasional Ibuprofen after getting my period back since baby. If your day-to-day activities are compromised because of your period pain, take a Pamprin or something! It’s okay!
6. Wear dark colors & more forgiving clothes.
Working out with period = extra uncomfortable. I get it! Being on my period can affect my self-esteem and confidence. That can affect my workout, and I know I’m not the only one. My tip would be to wear those workout clothes that are a little more forgiving, a little looser, and that are darker in color. You don’t want any extra pressure on your belly, and you definitely don’t want to run the risk of a very visible leak!
7. Try something gentle instead of your norm.
Floor work like yoga and pilates are great if you’re on your period. You can also just walk. Your muscles will still get used, and calories will still burn! I don’t know if others experience this, but when I exert myself a lot, I tend to experience heavier bleeding. I avoid that by taking it easy. Working out on your period doesn’t have to be extreme!
8. Be sure to take extra time to stretch.
Working out on period = extra tight muscles. At least for me! When I’m on my period, I get a super tight back and realllly tight hips. This makes quite a few things impossible without a long stretching sesh prior to my workout. If your muscles tighten up when you’re on your period, be careful not to injure yourself! Tack on an extra 5 minutes to your foam rolling or stretching routine before AND after your workout.
9. Try a home workout instead of going out.
Here’s the thing: some days I wake up knowing that I just don’t feel good. It’s not really worth it for me to drive all the way to the gym if I’m going to be uncomfortable and half-assed. I still want to get my workout in, I just don’t want other people’s eyes on me. Lol. This is where home workouts come in handy. For a short, core-focused workout I use Restore The Core!
Do you have any other tips for working out on your period? Help a girl out and share them below!