The Best Exercises for Each Stage of Your Menstrual Cycle
Like me, you may really want to move your body, feel stronger, feel healthier, but find it a continuous balancing act between under-doing it and over-doing it with exercise and endometriosis. Endometriosis fatigue can often leave us feeling too wiped out for exercise, but of course, the irony is, is exercise helps us to feel more energised.
This has been an ongoing dilemma for me, and one I constantly work at solving. What has been so helpful in this process is understanding the best exercises for each stage of my menstrual cycle - yes, it’s an actual thing.
I’m often way too wiped out to go on my climber machine during my period, and for many of us, we’re in too much pain as well. Before, I’d beat myself up for not being able to push through, but now I’m understanding our body wasn’t built to exercise in the same way, every day and in fact, it’s beneficial to us to vary it - especially when living with endometriosis.
Exercise for Each Stage of Your Menstrual Cycle
I’ve always had a fairly complicated relationship with exercise. At times in my life, I’ve used exercise as a punishment, and so it’s been fairly hard to see as something to benefit my body and feel good about. Over the years, my relationship with exercise has become more positive, but will get wiped out of my life by chronic fatigue and endometriosis pain for a week or two at a time. It then becomes so much harder, motivation-wise, to get back into the swing of things.
Yet in the last year or so, I’ve encountered many leaders in the menstrual health space talking about exercise for your cycle. From Lisa Lister and Alisa Vitti to Vickie Williams, moving with the subtle energy shifts of your body and tailoring your exercise accordingly are now firmly on the radar.
I’ve been experimenting with this since reading the brilliant “Code Red.” Lisa Lister has created “SHE Flow Yoga,” which works with the body to deliberately support the female sex organs and evolves throughout the cycle. After reading “Womancode,” by Alisa Vitti, and pursuing my hormone-balancing quest, I’ve really come to understand this way of working with movement. It’s helped me get more out of my exercise routine during the phases when I feel good, and allows me to continue moving during my pre-menstrual phases and menstruation, helping me feel better about my body mentally, keeping myself healthy physically, and easing some of my symptoms.
So, in the following, I’ve broken down each stage of the menstrual cycle (remember the four seasons?) and the types of exercises you can take on during these phases. I’m still a reasonable newbie to this, so you may want to do your own research and always check in with how your body feels before any kind of exercise.
Read the rest of the column here.
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