You might feel like binge watching Netflix with a family size bag of chocolates but doing some exercise could really help ease those horrible PMS symptoms.
The figures show that getting active can really improve the physical and psychological symptoms of PMS. One study, analysing young women over an eight week period, found that exercise made a ‘significant difference’ in improving PMS symptoms. Overall, 31% of PMS symptoms were reduced over the two months, in participants who had been doing aerobic exercise.
The Metro Newspaper asked for my advice on exercising before and during your period, and how exercise advice might change at different times of the month.
Here’s what I had to say:
“Steady state cardio like running, cycling, hiking and power walking are perfect during PMS, and will also help regulate mood and even help reduce water retention, common problems with PMS.
Body temperature also rises during this time, which can make intense exercise less comfortable.
A lower carb, higher protein and fat diet will complement this type of exercise and since the body is less insulin-sensitive during PMS, will reduce blood sugar and energy swings.
During your period is the time to hit those heavy weights and take all that tension out with a big workout. Your body uses carbohydrates more efficiently now, and the extra carbs will help fuel the harder workouts.”
In other words;
Premenstrual: lower intensity exercise and a lower carb, higher fat diet
On your period: higher intensity / heavy weights, while eating a few more carbs.
Exercise also induces endorphins; powerful antidepressants and pain relievers, which help at any time of the month but especially when you feel grumpy with period cramps!
(You might like this video too: The Stress and Weight Gain Connection)
Of course each woman is different and the best way to see what works for you is to try a few things out and see how you feel. At the very least, try and get a walk in to keep active on a basic level, and take appropriate pain killers for cramps if you need to.