Physical activity in the form of aerobic exercise is widely accepted to help with many of the symptoms of Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS), including cramping. We know that it helps with water retention, helps your brain feel good by decreasing depression and anxiety symptoms, and even helps you feel better physically. Be sure to make it a lifestyle for you most days of the month, not just during your period!
When it feels like someone has clamped a vice on your uterus, the last thing you feel like doing is working out. But strapping on your running shoes may be just the solution you need. While strength training and flexibility exercises are important parts of your workout routine, aerobic exercises tend to be the most helpful for cramps. So get out there and get your heart pumping! My favorite activity is going for a brisk walk. I love walking with my English Bulldog, but he's pretty slow ... if I really want to get my heart pumping, I need to leave him at home. But any activity you enjoy will do - try jogging, swimming, biking, playing team sports, or taking a high energy class at your local gym.
For myself and many other women, the answer to this question is a resounding "yes!" Even though I don't always feel like exercising when I have cramps, I usually feel better afterward. If you're not up for anything intense, no worries. Working out or sports can be less comfortable while you're on your period, but even light exercise like walking or low-intensity cardio can help with cramps. Your body might be screaming "no" at first (and hey, my body screams "no" when I try to exercise even when I'm not on my period!), but after a few minutes of sweating, your cramps might just lighten up. Remember to stay extra hydrated while you're exercising or playing sports on your period to avoid excess bloating.
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