When you’re on your period, the last thing you want to do is get up and move around, let alone exercise. Bloating makes it a feat to squeeze into your workout clothes. Cramps, breast tenderness and general fatigue also make it next to impossible to get motivated to go to the gym or get in a few circuits at home. It’s all too easy to throw on your favorite pair of sweatpants and snuggle on the couch until your period is over. While you may not want to get up and get moving, exercise during your period may actually be the best thing for you during this time of the month.

What are the Benefits of Exercising During Your Period?

Cramps are a huge reason that people chose to stay in instead of getting out to exercise, but it’s been shown that exercise can actually help relieve your lower back pain and uterine cramps. Also, during your period you can actually handle pain better and your body is able to recover faster due to low levels of female hormones such as estrogen and progesterone. Another reason why you may not want to exercise during your period is the lack of energy or desire to get a workout in. Many would use their bloated body and fatigue as an excuse. On the contrary, citing that they aren’t up to their usual, you actually do not lose your strength or power during your period. And curb that crankiness because guess what: exercise can actually improve your mood.

What Workouts Can You do?

Start off with walking or running, if you’re up for a bit of a jog. Also do some aerobics to get that heart rate up. If you aren’t up for the gym, don’t worry about it and work out at home. Look up home workouts online or pop in your favorite workout video and follow along. But what if you want to work out and don’t want to do a formal workout routine? Put on some of your favorite music and dance around. Once you’re burning calories and pumping up your heart rate to the beat, it will hardly feel like exercise. Any amount of vigorous exercise that you are able to get in is beneficial. You’ll release endorphins that help improve your mood.

Are there any Workouts to Avoid?

While most workouts are perfectly safe to do when exercising during your period, you may want to avoid a workout that may invert you – namely yoga. Almost all of the poses in a yoga are okay for you to get into, except those in which you’re pretty much standing on your head. This includes shoulder stands, plough poses and headstands. The reason you should avoid these inverted positions is that when inverted, the blood vessels in your uterus become engorged. This is called vascular congestion in the uterus and may cause you to bleed and cramp more.

So ladies, that settles it. Your period is hardly an excuse for not working out but you should listen to your body carefully. It may not be wise to work out if you have severe cramps or are nauseated. Take care not to not overexert yourself; take breaks when needed.  Also, be sure to hydrate sufficiently; it’s been said that women dehydrate easier while on their period.