Fitness and Your Period: The Best Exercises for Each Phase of Your Cycle

Fitness and Your Period: The Best Exercises for Each Phase of Your Cycle

Understanding how to align your fitness routine with the phases of your menstrual cycle can optimize your workouts and improve overall well-being. Each phase of the cycle affects your body differently, and adapting your exercise routine accordingly can help you stay active and feel your best. This article explores the best exercises for each phase of your menstrual cycle.

1. Menstrual Phase:

The menstrual phase begins on the first day of your period and typically lasts 3-7 days. During this time, hormone levels, particularly estrogen and progesterone, are at their lowest. This drop in hormones can lead to fatigue, mood swings, and menstrual cramps. Many women also experience lower back pain, bloating, and headaches.

Best Exercises:
  • Gentle Yoga and Stretching: Focus on restorative yoga poses and gentle stretches to ease cramps and reduce stress. Poses like Child's Pose, Cat-Cow, and Reclining Bound Angle can be particularly soothing.
  • Walking: A low-impact activity that can help improve circulation and boost your mood without straining your body. A brisk walk in nature can also provide mental clarity and reduce stress.
  • Light Strength Training: Use light weights or bodyweight exercises to maintain muscle tone without overexertion. Exercises like wall sits, modified push-ups, and seated leg lifts can be effective.
2. Follicular Phase:

The follicular phase starts on the first day of your period and continues until ovulation (about 10-14 days). Estrogen levels gradually rise during this phase, leading to increased energy, improved mood, and enhanced cognitive function. The rise in estrogen also stimulates the growth of the uterine lining and the development of follicles in the ovaries.

Best Exercises:
  • Cardio Workouts: Engage in moderate to intense cardio activities like running, cycling, or dance classes to take advantage of increased energy levels. This is also a great time for interval training and endurance exercises.
  • Strength Training: Focus on building strength with heavier weights and more challenging resistance exercises. Compound movements like squats, deadlifts, and bench presses can be particularly effective.
  • High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT): Short bursts of intense activity followed by rest can be particularly effective during this phase. HIIT workouts can boost cardiovascular fitness and burn more calories in less time.
3. Ovulation Phase:

Ovulation occurs around the midpoint of your cycle (day 14 in a 28-day cycle). This phase is characterized by a peak in estrogen and a slight increase in testosterone, enhancing strength, endurance, and libido. The mature egg is released from the ovary, making this the most fertile period of your cycle.

Best Exercises:
  • High-Intensity Workouts: Continue with HIIT, sprinting, or other high-intensity exercises to capitalize on peak strength and energy. You might find that your body can handle more challenging workouts during this time.
  • Endurance Activities: Long-distance running, swimming, or hiking can be particularly enjoyable and effective. Your endurance is likely at its highest, making it a great time for longer, sustained efforts.
  • Power-Based Exercises: Focus on exercises that build power, such as plyometrics, kettlebell swings, and jump squats. These exercises can improve muscle explosiveness and overall athletic performance.
4. Luteal Phase:

The luteal phase occurs after ovulation and lasts until the start of your next period (about 10-14 days). Progesterone levels rise during this phase, leading to potential symptoms like fatigue, bloating, breast tenderness, and mood swings. The body prepares for a possible pregnancy, and if the egg is not fertilized, hormone levels will eventually drop, leading to the start of the menstrual phase.

Best Exercises:
  • Moderate Cardio: Try more moderate activities like brisk walking, cycling, or low-impact aerobics to maintain activity without overwhelming your body. These activities can help manage PMS symptoms and keep your energy levels steady.
  • Pilates and Barre: These exercises focus on core strength, flexibility, and balance, which can be beneficial during this phase. They can also help alleviate lower back pain and improve posture.
  • Gentle Yoga and Relaxation: Incorporate more restorative yoga poses and relaxation techniques to manage stress and alleviate PMS symptoms. Poses like Legs-Up-The-Wall and Corpse Pose can be particularly calming.
Tips for Exercising Throughout Your Cycle:
  • Listen to Your Body: Pay attention to how you feel and adjust your exercise intensity accordingly. It's okay to take a rest day if needed.
  • Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, especially during intense workouts and hot weather.
  • Eat Well: Fuel your body with a balanced diet rich in nutrients to support your energy levels and recovery.
  • Track Your Cycle: Use a period-tracking app to monitor your cycle and plan your workouts around your energy levels and symptoms.
Aligning your fitness routine with the phases of your menstrual cycle can help you maximize your workouts and maintain overall wellness. By understanding how your body changes throughout the month and adapting your exercise regimen accordingly, you can stay active, healthy, and energized. Remember to listen to your body and find what works best for you. Happy exercising!
Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.