Do you exercise on your period? Or are you wondering whether it’s safe to workout during your time of the month?
No matter what stage you are in of your menstrual cycle, once you’re kitted out in some workout essentials, like one of the best sports bras for running (opens in new tab) – if you feel up to it – there’s nothing to stop you from exercising, even if you are on your period.
But don’t just take our word for it. Science has proven that exercising on your period is safe to do. In fact it could prove to be very beneficial. However you might experience a number of different physical and psychological symptoms, such as feeling your energy levels are lower.
To discover everything there is to know about exercise on periods, we turned to the science and asked an expert to weigh in on the topic.
How does your period affect energy levels?
Your period can affect your energy levels in a couple of ways.
Firstly, if you experience heavy bleeding and lose more than 80 milliliters of blood during one menstrual period, it can lead to iron deficiency. Iron helps our body make red blood cells. But if our body doesn’t have enough iron, it can’t produce enough red blood cells which can lead to anemia (opens in new tab). According to the Institute of Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (opens in new tab), a lack of red blood cells in our blood means our bodies get less oxygen which in turn makes us feel ‘weak and tired’.
Secondly, changing hormone levels have a big part to play in our energy levels.
Tamara Hew-Butler, who is Associate Professor of Exercise Physiology at Wayne State University (opens in new tab), explains that women and those who menstruate tend to have lower energy levels during the second half of the of the menstrual cycle, known as the luteal phase which occurs during days 15 to 28. But why is this?
Tamara Hew-Butler is a podiatric physician and associate professor of Exercise and Sports Science at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. She obtained her BS in Kinesiology at the University of California at Los Angeles, CA; Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA; and Philosophy Doctor (PhD) at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. She is a Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine (FACSM) and specializes in both sports medicine and exercise physiology.
“Physiologically speaking, the first two weeks of the menstrual cycle – the…