Does Working Out Help Period Cramps?

If you’re looking for relief from period cramps, you might be wondering if working out can help. We’ve got the scoop on whether or not exercise can help ease the pain of cramps.

Overview of Period Cramps

Period cramps, also known as dysmenorrhea, are a common, but highly unpleasant experience for many women. They can occur on the lower abdomen and thighs, as well as backache and headaches, and can range from a slight discomfort to an intense pain that can have a serious effect on your daily life. Knowing what can help reduce the pain of period cramps is very important in order to manage them effectively.

Definition and Causes of Period Cramps

Period cramps, also known as dysmenorrhea or menstrual cramps, are a painful and common symptom experienced during a woman’s menstrual cycle. The pain varies in intensity and can range from mild to severe. It usually begins one to three days before the onset of menstrual bleeding, peaks on the first day of bleeding, and then dissipates after Day 3 or 4 of the cycle.

The pain is usually caused by contractions of the uterus, which is responsible for releasing an egg each month during ovulation. This causes temporary blockage of the blood supply to the uterus, resulting in severe cramping. Additionally, certain hormones such as prostaglandins and prostacyclins can be released from uterine tissue and cause further narrowing of uterine muscles resulting in even more intense pain. That being said, other potential causes can include endometriosis (abnormal growths outside of the uterus), pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), ovarian cysts, stress or anxiety levels that are too high, or diet deficiencies. Therefore it is important to speak with your doctor if you consistently experience painful cramps during your menstrual cycle as these could be signs of an underlying medical condition that needs treatment.

Symptoms of Period Cramps

Period cramps are caused by the contractions of muscles in the uterus, and can range from mild to severe. In addition to lower abdominal pain or dull ache, common symptoms may include:

-Lower back pain
-Pain or discomfort in the legs or thighs
-Diarrhea or bloating
-Food cravings.
Many women also experience mood changes including mood swings and depression. The duration and intensity of symptoms vary from woman to woman, but can last up to three days.

Benefits of Working Out for Period Cramps

Exercise and physical activity has been found to be beneficial for women with period cramps, as it helps reduce the intensity of the pain. Working out can also help to improve circulation, which can help reduce the duration of cramps. Additionally, working out can also provide a distraction from cramping pain. Let’s take a look at some other benefits of working out for period cramps.

Improved Blood Circulation

Working out encourages blood to flow throughout the body. Regular physical activity has been shown to increase circulation of red blood cells and plasma in the body. This improved circulation can help reduce the effects of menstrual cramps by delivering oxygen and other important nutrients to areas that are in pain. As a result, more oxygen is delivered to the muscles which helps increase flexibility and improve a range of motion. Additionally, this improved circulation helps flush excess hormones from the body which can be beneficial for reducing period cramps as well as relieving associated symptoms like nausea, bloating, fatigue, and constipation.

Increased Endorphin Production

When you exercise, your body releases hormones called endorphins. Endorphins are powerful hormones that act as natural painkillers while also improving mood, reducing stress, and promoting relaxation. These hormones can help relieve the cramps and other symptoms associated with PMS and your period. They can provide much needed relief from muscle aches and cramps, depression, anxiety, and other symptoms associated with menstrual cycles. Additionally, increased endorphin production has been linked to a reduction in fatigue. By exercising regularly you may find yourself becoming more energized throughout the day and feeling less tired during your cycle due to the endorphins produced during physical activity.

Reduced Stress Levels

Exercise has been scientifically proven to reduce stress levels and make us feel better mentally. Many people may find that physical activity can improve their mood and help them relax. Reducing stress levels can in turn reduce some of the physical symptoms associated with PMS, such as cramping. This is because the release of hormones such as cortisol and endorphins during exercise helps to regulate your cycle and ease those troublesome hormonal fluctuations that lead to cramps. Additionally, regular exercise helps your body maintain its hormone balance which also helps keep menstrual pain at bay.

Types of Workouts for Period Cramps

Period cramps can be extremely uncomfortable and disruptive. Luckily, physical exercise can help relieve the cramps and symptoms associated with periods. Doing certain types of exercises can help with the pain associated with period cramps. In this article, we will explore the different types of workouts that can help reduce period cramps.

Light Cardio

Light cardio, such as walking and light jogging, can be incredibly beneficial for reducing period cramps. Cardio exercises help to reduce menstrual cramps caused by prostaglandins, hormone-like substances responsible for tightening your uterine muscles. Light cardio works to boost your circulation and keep your body in motion. This helps to reduce the pain associated with period cramps by helping your uterus muscles relax and relieving cramp discomfort without straining or overexertion of your body. Additionally, this type of exercise will help you offset mild behavior changes associated with PMS, like fatigue and depression. Low intensity exercises can also reduce the bloating that comes with PMS, as well as helping you reduce stress that tends to worsen period cramps.


Yoga is an excellent option for targeting period cramps. Because it is a low-impact form of exercise that can be tailored to any specific physical need, yoga poses are able to target and stretch the muscles governing the uterus, while simultaneously causing them to relax. This tension-release effect that yoga can have on the body is invaluable when combating muscle cramping associated with menstrual periods. Furthermore, yoga’s emphasis on breath-work and mindfulness provides a deeper level of inner peace and clarity which has been scientifically proven to reduce stress, anxiety and physical tension experienced during this time in a woman’s life. Depending on your skill level and/or needs, there are plenty of online resources available or you can practice with a local instructor or class.

Strength Training

Strength training is a key component in managing period cramps. Working out can help release endorphins which are responsible for increased levels of relaxation and reduced pain. Strength training can also help improve muscle tone and the flow of blood circulation throughout your body, helping to reduce emotional stress caused by hormonal fluctuations during your cycle. Examples of strength training exercises include but are not limited to weightlifting, squats, planks, press-ups, yoga, Pilates and ball exercises. Additionally, many machines and weights in the gym can be used making it a great way to target specific areas such as your stomach or back where you experience discomfort during menstruation.

Tips for Working Out During Period Cramps

Working out during period cramps can be beneficial for both your physical and mental health. Regular exercise can reduce the intensity of the cramps, as well as the mood swings that often accompany them. When done properly, working out during period cramps can help to reduce stress and improve your overall health and well-being. Let us look at some tips to help make working out during period cramps more manageable.

Listen to Your Body

When it comes to working out during period cramps, it’s important to be in tune with your body. Your body will give you little clues throughout the day about what kind of activity would feel best — so pay attention to how you feel and don’t push too hard. If light exercise such as walking or stretching sounds good, go for it! If the thought of lifting weights or running exhausts you, then those may not be ideal activities for that particular day.

In general, light cardio and low-impact exercises are great for relieving period cramps. Low-impact activities like swimming, Pilates, rowing and yoga help to get your blood flowing without putting undue stress on your body. For more vigorous cardio options – like jogging or HIIT workouts – try reducing the intensity on days when your cramping is worse. You can multi-task by adding supportive equipment during an exercise session: foam rolling can help increase circulation while also providing a massage quality that lessens uncomfortable cramps. Additionally, taking a few deep breaths during workouts and allowing yourself a few breaks can keep you from overexerting yourself.

Drink Plenty of Water

It’s important to stay hydrated while exercising, but especially during the time of your period when cramps can be more intense or frequent. The reason is dehydration can cause our cells to break down, releasing toxins that make the cramps even worse. Drinking water before, during and after exercise will help reduce this effect. Additionally, if you’re experiencing heavy bleeding or extra fatigue due to your period, it may be helpful to increase your intake of electrolytes such as potassium. You can easily get these from ordinary foods like bananas and mangoes or a supplement like Nuun Hydration or Everly Energy Restore (which also includes magnesium for added benefit). Lastly, remember that caffeine can contribute to dehydration so keep caffeinated drinks at a minimum on days that you’re dealing with cramps and heavy bleeding.

Wear the Right Clothes

When you’re dealing with period cramps, comfort should be your top priority. Wear clothes that don’t restrict your movement or irritate sensitive skin. Choose yoga pants or leggings that have plenty of stretch so that they can move with you while you exercise and wick away sweat to keep you cool. A breathable sports bra and a lightweight top that offers coverage but doesn’t bind should do the trick. Forgo any tight waistbands, as they may further aggravate cramp pain. It is also important to wear proper shoes, such as running shoes or cross trainers, to help provide support when doing intense activities like running, jumping, and lifting weights.


After reviewing all the evidence, it is clear that working out can be beneficial for reducing period cramps. Exercise can help reduce period pain and improve mood by releasing endorphins, which are hormones created by the body to help make you feel better. Additionally, staying active can improve a person’s overall health and reduce stress, which also has a positive effect on period pain. In conclusion, it is safe to say that working out can help reduce period cramps for many women.

Summary of Benefits of Working Out for Period Cramps

Working out during your period can have numerous health benefits, most notably a decrease in period cramps. The physical activity helps relieve menstrual tension and boosts the release of endorphins, the body’s natural painkiller. Exercise also helps regulate hormones and improves overall circulation, which can reduce discomfort associated with painful periods. For those who are already physically active, continuing to exercise during their period is good for their overall health. However, if you are not used to exercising it may be beneficial to start slow and gradually increase intensity as your body adjusts.

In addition to reducing cramping and discomfort, engaging in regular physical activity can help regulate the length of your menstrual cycle and reduce other side effects such as headaches or bloating. Exercise also helps relieve stress which can improve mental wellbeing and may provide a positive outlet for emotions related to PMS or menstruation. Additionally, regular exercise strengthens your bones which is important for long-term health since women lose calcium more quickly than men due to hormonal changes throughout life.

In summary, regular workout sessions are beneficial when dealing with period cramps and other PMS symptoms due to their ability to alleviate pain and balance hormones while boosting overall physical fitness. With that said, it’s important listen your body’s signals when exercising during menstruation; if you become fatigued or overly sore take time off from workouts until you feel energized enough to continue again safely.

Other Remedies for Period Cramps

Apart from exercise, there are additional remedies available to help ease the painful experience of period cramps. Pain relievers, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or muscle relaxants can be used to reduce the severity of cramps. Powering through with some heat — an electric heating pad, hot water bottle, or warm bath — can also help provide relief. In addition, lifestyle changes such as reducing stress, avoiding foods that contain caffeine or alcohol, and increasing one’s daily intake of vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids can make a difference during menstruation. Lastly, for those who experience persistent and severe pain during their period despite exploring medical treatments or natural remedies like lifestyle changes, talking to your doctor about hormonal birth control is a possible solution. Every individual experiences menstrual pain differently and finding the option that works best for you may require trial and error. Regardless of the choice made in seeking relief from period cramps, it is important to maintain an open dialogue with one’s healthcare provider in order to ensure safety while managing discomfort during menstruation.

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