Periods and being active
If you have periods, you may have noticed that your energy levels and overall physical performance can vary throughout your menstrual cycle. Menstruation can impact your body in several ways, including changes in hormone levels, mood, and energy levels. If you’re looking to get fit, it’s essential to understand how your menstrual cycle can affect your workouts and to learn ways to mitigate these effects.
Firstly, let’s understand how menstruation affects your body. Your period is controlled by hormones. Before your period, your insulin and progesterone levels go up, which may make you feel tired, irritable and hungry. During this time, you may feel like you don’t have the energy to do the activities you normally would do. After your period, your oestrogen levels increase, and you may feel your energy levels returning to normal or being even higher.
That’s before you consider the physical symptoms which often come along with periods, including cramping, headaches or migraines, water retention and general fatigue.
However, there are several ways to mitigate the impact of menstruation on your energy levels and fitness routine. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Plan ahead: If you know when your period is due, try to plan your workout routine around it. Aim for low-impact activities like yoga, Pilates, or walking during the first few days of your period when you may feel particularly fatigued.
- Fuel your body: Eating a healthy, balanced diet can help to support your energy levels during menstruation. Make sure you’re getting plenty of iron-rich foods like spinach, lentils, and red meat, as well as complex carbohydrates like whole grains and vegetables.
- Hydrate: Drinking plenty of water can help to combat feelings of bloating and fatigue. Aim for at least eight glasses of water a day and consider drinking electrolyte-rich fluids like coconut water or sports drinks to help replenish lost fluids.
- Rest and recovery: It’s important to give your body the rest and recovery it needs during menstruation. Aim for at least 7-8 hours of sleep a night, and consider incorporating restorative practices like meditation or stretching into your routine.
- Be kind to yourself: Remember that your energy levels and physical performance may be affected during menstruation, and it’s important to be kind to yourself and not push yourself too hard. Focus on maintaining a consistent routine, rather than pushing for personal bests or trying to achieve unrealistic goals.
Menstruation can impact your energy levels and physical performance, but there are several ways to mitigate these effects. By listening to your body, eating a healthy diet, staying hydrated, trying different workout routines, and getting enough rest, you can maintain your fitness routine and achieve your fitness goals. Remember to be patient with yourself and give yourself grace during this time of the month, and don’t be too hard on yourself if you need to adjust your workout routine.