Women’s Health: Exercise and Your Cycle
In honour of October being International Breast Cancer Awareness month, I am focusing on women’s health.
It’s no secret that our mood and energy levels fluctuate throughout our cycle and sometimes training is the LAST thing we feel like doing. It’s worth noting though, that through exercise you can actually increase the production of endorphins (the hormones that make you feel good). Exercise has been shown to improve the negative symptoms associated with the menstrual cycle.
The physical and chemical changes that take place in our bodies during our period can make us feel bloated, crampy, sluggish, tired and full of unhealthy cravings.
Your bed and a hot water bottle can be oh so tempting! But when you’re on the journey of developing healthy habits and creating a consistent routine it’s important to not let this get in the way - especially since it comes around every month!
I can teach you how to implement simple strategies to train effectively at every stage of your cycle!
Warm up - Take 5-10 minutes at the start of your session to warm up your body with a light walk and some stretching. This allows you to gently ease into your session. You can also utilise this time to calm your mind and get yourself into the right headspace for your workout.
Change it Up if you need to. Go into your routine knowing that you can modify on your terms is powerful. Adjust your workout If a certain movement is making you feel uncomfortable. It’s important to listen to your body. Whether it be trying a different variation or lowering the weight - you are in control and can make the necessary adjustments. When you recognise that you are exercising to nourish your body, instead of punish it, you will be a lot more centred and happy, Working out is a gift. Believe me, changing up one workout is not going to affect your progress. But completing a workout on your terms could change everything for you.
Drink enough water! As your hormones oestrogen and progesterone levels fluctuate throughout your period, your body retains more water. This makes staying hydrated especially important!
Hone in on your nutrition. The hormonal fluctuations we experience throughout our cycle can also change the food cravings we have. If you tend to crave something sweet during this time of the month, why not factor in a small sweet treat as part of your daily nutrition? This will mean you can still stay on track with your goals without feeling like you have given up entirely! Everyone is different so it’s important to find what works best for you.
Be your own cheerleader. Your body is amazing! Think of all the wonderful things it does for you day in and day out - you need to be kind to yourself. Focus on all of your positive achievements for the week.
Factor in some time for self-love and recovery. This could be taking a walk in nature, reading your book or taking an indulgent bath.