Updated: Dec 16, 2020
During the Premenstrual syndrome or the PMS, as women we have to face strong hormonal changes. These changes can lead to different symptoms like headaches, mood swings in addition to body pains and muscle aches. They usually occur the week before the monthly cycle, this is why it is called Premenstrual syndrome. The symptoms vary from one woman to another and even from one day to another. They will go from almost painless to very strong.
According to multiple studies, there is no scientific reason why we are not supposed to practice any fitness activities during this period. We only have to adapt our trainings according to the symptoms by reducing the duration, intensity and avoid strong impact sports such as running. During this week, it is highly recommended to practice sports such as pilates, light weight trainings or Yoga.
How to deal with the pain?
The symptoms will last only a couple of days. During this small period, we usually experience small sleep issues and our body temperature will be higher by about 1 degree - always great to sweat a little bit more than usual. These are the reasons why we feel out of energy, irritable, our muscles are more sore even if we do not do much and feel like doing nothing else than sitting on your couch, watch Netflix and eat snacks, BUT it is important we remain active. Indeed, while we exercise our mind will be focusing on something else than the pain due to cramps and even reduce their intensities due to the increased blood flow.
To help you reducing the pain, we should slightly change to a healthier food routine - see article - by eating food rich in calcium, proteins and low-fat diary products. It is also recommended to cut down caffeine, alcohol and salt.
What fitness activities should I do?
According to the study done by Nadya Swedan "Women's Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation" - read book -, women who exercise at least once a week have less painful symptoms than women who do not exercise during the week. Plus, while exercising your blood flow will be strongly increased reducing your menstrual cramps pain.
Pilates is not only for pregnant women or fitness fanatics. While doing pilates, you will work on your strength, core muscles leading to a better posture, breathing, balance and flexibility. Even if you find many exercises using intimidating specific machines, most of the exercises can be done by beginners on the floor on your favourite Yoga mat. This is a very low-impact activity.
Do not forget, everyone was a beginner one day and do not compare your level with others. They might have started to practice pilates many years ago.
Almost every gyms clubs have Pilates group class for beginners or experienced fitness lovers. Make sure you register to them in order to receive feedback from a pro Personal Trainer.
As we have mentioned earlier, the Premenstrual syndrome takes a lot of energy out of your body and increases your body temperature. This means, you should adapt your usual weight training routine. Do not feel frustrated if you sweat more, do less repetitions or if you use lighter weights than usual as your muscle might feel pretty achy even before the session.
Most of the exercises we have listed in our previous article can be done as much as you want or can do.
It is highly recommended to avoid high-impact activities, so avoid exercises such as jumped squats or lunges and also the leg press - see below why.
The difference between pilates and yoga is not always very clear. Both disciplines have similar exercises but their histories and goals are very different. Yoga will help you to improve your mental, physical and emotional health while focusing on your breathing and posture.
We recommend you start with gentle stretches and movements in order to really understand how you feel during this specific session, your fitness level will differ from one hour to another.
During your yoga sessions, try to focus more on releasing tension around your hips and lower back. This is where the pain is located due to PMS is so it will generate strong muscle tensions in this area. As for pilates, Yoga is very popular in gym clubs, make sure you register to the next class in order to receive tips and feedback from an experienced Yoga instructor.
Throughout this period - sorry but the next sentence won't be poetic but very true - your blood is supposed to go down so make sure you only do movements which encourage your blood flow to follow its natural path.
To summarise, keeping a sport activity is highly recommended during this week. In addition to your light sessions, make sure you get nice sleeps, eat healthy, workout as you feel like and most importantly listen to your body!
We hope we have provided you few tricks in order to crush your workouts all month and all year long.
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