Can’t Workout on My Period? Here’s Why

It’s frustrating when you can’t workout on your period, but there may be a good reason for it. Learn more about how your period can affect your workouts and what you can do to stay on track.


For many women, monthly menstrual cycles are a normal and sometimes daunting part of life. While you may already be aware of the typical physical symptoms such as cramps and fatigue, there is often greater complexity to the experience that goes beyond just feeling tired or bloated. This can sometimes affect your ability to work out when you’re on your period.

Exercising and staying active is an important part of overall health, but during your period, it can come with its own set of challenges. In this article, we will explore how menstruation can affect the body’s need for rest and recovery. We will also discuss how certain activities like strength training can potentially benefit you by combatting fatigue and headaches during PMS (pre-menstrual syndrome). Finally, we will review some helpful tips that may help you stay motivated while navigating the roller coaster ride of hormones every month.

The Physiology of Menstruation

The female body is a complex system, and the menstrual cycle is one of its most mysterious yet fascinating parts. Every month, women go through a different hormonal and physical process to prepare for the possibility of a pregnancy. This intricate process includes changes in our physiology that can affect how we feel, how we think and how our bodies respond to exercise. Let’s take a closer look at the physiology of menstruation and how it affects our ability to workout.

Hormonal Changes

During a menstrual cycle, the following hormonal changes occur:

The hypothalamus produces the gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH). This stimulates the anterior pituitary to secrete follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH). FSH stimulates the ovarian follicles to produce estrogen and progesterone, while LH stimulates the corpus luteum to produce even more progesterone.

In the first two weeks of a menstrual cycle, both FSH and LH levels are low. During this period, estrogen concentrations increase until it reaches its peak at around day 14. Estrogen causes an increase in brain serotonin levels as well as causing other physiological changes such as thickening of the endometrium for implantation of a fertilized ovum and increasing cervical mucous secretions which make it easier for sperm cells to travel through the uterus and into fallopian tubes.

At ovulation (around day 14), rises in circulating estradiol, inhibin and progesterone levels all reach their peak in preparation for fertilization. During this stage, LH exerts a positive feedback action on GnRH production, resulting in increased circulating levels of these hormones prior to ovulation (preovulatory phase). If fertilization does not occur then both estrogen and progesterone decline gradually during days 15–28 causing menstruation. Ultimately leading to decreased production of GnRH, decreased secretion of FSH and LH from the anterior pituitary gland and finally ending with menses on about day 28. Thus completing one menstrual cycle which then begins again with the new growth of higher follicle-stimulating hormone concentrations signaling resumption of maturation of ovarian follicles at day 1–2 under control of GnRH from hypothalamus.

Fluctuating Energy Levels

Fluctuating energy levels are one of the most common changes women experience before, during and after their periods. In the days leading up to a woman’s period, her body is producing larger amounts of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) causing an increase in estrogen levels. Estrogen causes an increase in serotonin, a chemical messenger that emits signals to target organs in the body like the brain and pancreas. The result is increased energy and motivation at these peak levels.

But when your period begins, estrogen steadily decreases which leads to a gradual withdrawal of serotonin from your systems. Your energy levels likely start to drop as you approach the end of your cycle with fatigue being one major symptom for many women during this time. It stands to reason then that using less demanding exercises or taking more rest days on heavier cycle days would be beneficial for limiting feelings of fatigue or exhaustion during your period; this could include things like stretching, swimming, low impact cardio exercises or roller blasting/foam rolling for self-care.

Discomfort and Pain

Discomfort and pain related to the menstrual cycle is common and can range from mild to severe. The severity of this discomfort or pain may be due to a number of factors, such as hormones, diet and stress. Some people may have physical symptoms, such as cramping, headache, backache, diarrhoea or constipation. Other people may have mental or emotional symptoms like anxiety, irritability or depression.

The most common cause of menstrual-related discomfort is the hormone fluctuations that are associated with the actual physiological process of menstruation. As the body begins to prepare for menstruation, estrogen and progesterone levels drop off or fall sharply—this triggers contractions in the uterus which can cause cramping and other physical discomforts. Natural hormone fluctuations are also responsible for certain emotional changes or mood swings during the entire menstrual cycle process itself.

Sustained high levels of stress can impact your experience with menstruation by increasing your chances of developing physical pain along with intensifying mood swings for some individuals. Stress can also affect hormone production and cause irregular cycles leading to fatigue and a lack of energy which could further complicate things depending on your level of activity throughout each month. Additionally, your diet can make a difference when it comes to monthly discomfort: some women find that if they reduce their intake of salt and increase their intake of magnesium they experience less cramping while others tend to feel better if they eat foods that are high in iron since this mineral helps prevent anemia which is sometimes associated with heavy flow periods.

Many women find themselves feeling exhausted and having low energy during their period, making it difficult to stick to their regular workout routine. Don’t worry though! There are plenty of activities that you can do that are not only safe and beneficial but can actually help reduce menstrual cramps. In this article, we’ll look at some recommended workouts for your period that you can do to keep your body moving and feeling energized.

Low-Impact Cardio

When you’re on your period and feeling low in energy, low-impact cardio is an excellent way to get the heart rate up while still maintaining a level of comfort. Low-impact activities are less intense and have less jarring movement than higher-impact options, but they can still have major benefits to your physical and mental wellbeing.

Low-impact exercises make use of your bodyweight or light resistance--such as bodyweight movements like squats and lunges, gentle biking with no resistance, skipping rope, walking or gliding on an elliptical machine. These exercises help maintain muscle mass without exerting too much strain on the body’s joints. To ease into a low-impact workout session, try going for a brisk walk outdoors on different terrains like pavements, trails or grassy areas. This can give you enough energy to then attempt more activities such as yoga or cycling indoors.

Low impact cardio combined with dynamic stretching (stretches that are initiated through movement such as walking lunges) helps in improving circulation and oxygenation without putting any intense pressure on muscles and joints. Exercising during your period may bring relief from cramps & mood swings by releasing endorphins which act as natural painkillers. You can also supplement your workout with gentle stretching sessions like yin yoga to find a greater sense of well-being not just physiologically but also psychologically during menstruation days!

Strength Training

Strength training can be a great way to help manage PMS symptoms, and for some women, exercising during their period can actually be beneficial. Strength training is the most beneficial type of exercise for the menstrual cycle as it increases muscle mass and strength, which in turn increases endorphin production. This form of exercise helps to reduce cramps and other symptoms such as fatigue and bloating while also providing emotional support by reducing stress hormones.

The intensity of strength training should be based on your experience and also considering where you are in your menstrual cycle. Around ovulation is the best time to push more intensely as it will increase progesterone levels; however, if you are in the second half of your cycle, during your period or just before your menses start, then lighter weights are best utilized since those days tend to come with less energy than usual. Additionally, sticking with full body exercises instead of isolation movements will help create an overall balance of hormones throughout the body which can help reduce physical pains such as cramps that may occur during menstruation.

Ideal exercises for period strength training include squats, lunges, chest presses, bicep curls and triceps extensions as they will target multiple muscles in different parts of the body so that movement is not just focused on one area at a time. Additionally these movements activate your core which provides an additional challenge to both stabilizing muscles as well as engaging larger muscle groups elsewhere in the body. Supportive stretching options between sets will also be beneficial — especially those targeting lower back muscles — provided they don’t cause discomfort or pain..

Yoga and Stretching

Yoga and stretching are great options when it comes to working out on your period. This type of exercise is low-impact, yet still requires enough movement and tension to increase the amount of endorphins flowing through the body.

Yoga can help you relax physically and mentally, while also bringing focus back to your breath, which helps regulate fluctuating hormones associated with menstruation. Stretching helps loosen tight muscles that accumulate during the menstrual cycle due to hormonal shifts. Both approaches enhance flexibility — a desirable outcome anytime — but especially beneficial during your period.

For those who benefit from structure on a regular basis, consider joining a yoga class, or working with a personal trainer who’s knowledgeable in yoga alignment and principles. Doing so will help you stay mindful of your posture without sacrificing relaxation or challenging yourself too much. Working with an experienced instructor ensures that you get the most out of each session while taking care of your body in ways that honor its needs throughout certain phases of your cycle.

Tips for Working Out on Your Period

Working out on your period can help you boost your energy and mood, reduce cramps and discomfort, and decrease overall cycle length. Unfortunately, many people find it hard to workout during their period due to the many hormonal and physical changes taking place. In this article, we’ll discuss some tips for making it easier to workout on your period, so you can keep up with your normal exercise routine.

Wear the Right Clothes

Finding the right clothes to wear while working out on your period can be tricky but it’s worth taking the time to get it right. Choose light and breathable fabrics such as cotton that are able to keep you comfortable during your workout and absorb any perspiration. Darker colors are also preferable as they will disguise any potential leakage better than lighter colors will. For added protection, invest in some period-proof underwear or a menstrual cup – both provide a reliable layer of protection to help you shut out worries about possible staining or leakage. If you are feeling particularly concerned, wearing black leggings may be a good idea as these offer maximum coverage and can easily mask any stains.

Listen to Your Body

Working out on your period can provide numerous health benefits, the most important of which is allowing you to stay active and keep up with your fitness goals. That said, it’s important to listen to your body and take into account any physical and emotional changes you may be experiencing. If you’re in a lot of pain or feeling particularly fatigued, it can be helpful to consider alternatives that aren’t as intense or require less effort, such as a gentle yoga class or going on an easy walk.

Aside from simply listening to your body, there are a few other tips that can help make working out during your period more manageable. Try investing in menstrual products specifically designed to make exercising while on your period more comfortable, such as tampons with leak guards or an absorbent reusable menstrual pad. Additionally, consider drinking plenty of water before and after your workout session to prevent dehydration – dehydration can make cramps even worse! Finally, take some time prior to working out on your period to warm up properly – stretching helps reduce muscle tension and cramps caused by menstruation.

Stay Hydrated

It may seem tempting to skip your workout during your menstrual cycle, but as long as you’re taking proper precautions, there is no reason why you can’t get that endorphin rush. The key is to make sure you remain hydrated while exercising; especially during your period. Hormonal shifts cause some water retention and added bloating, which can lead to dehydration. It is essential that you drink the proper amount of water during this time – at least 8-10 glasses a day. In addition to consuming lots of fluids, be sure to hydrate before and after your workout by consuming electrolyte drinks or coconut-infused water for added hydration and energy. Eating a healthy breakfast with lots of fruits and protein will help fuel your body for the day’s activity and increase the energy levels that may have been lower due to menstruating.


In conclusion, it is essential to understand your body and menstrual cycle when deciding if you should work out during your period. You may find that exercise causes more harm than good when you are menstruating. As such, it may be best to use this time as a designated recovery period and focus on activities such as yoga and light cardio instead. Ultimately, if you pay attention to your body’s unique needs during this time and understand the reasons why exercising on your period might not be the best option for everyone, you can make an informed decision about how to move forward in a way that supports optimal performance without overexerting yourself.

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