Running and your menstrual cycle
Due to a lot of physical and psychological reasons, people may want to distance themselves from the entire idea of running during periods. The typical menstrual cycle lasts roughly 28 days, despite the fact that each person's biology is different. On the 14th day of the menstrual cycle, ovulation occurs. While the first half of the menstrual cycle is called the follicular phase, the second half is known as the luteal phase.
Each cycle begins with the initiation of the follicular phase, which lasts around 14 days. Estrogen levels rise after your menstruation, which can last two to seven days, and peak around day 14, shortly before ovulation. Then there's a spike in luteinizing hormone, which triggers ovulation. For the duration of this period, the levels of another hormone called progesterone remain low.
Progesterone levels grow during the luteal phase, which lasts roughly 14 days and estrogen levels fall after ovulation. If the egg does not fertilise, the levels of progesterone and estrogen decline sharply. When menstruation occurs, the luteal phase finishes and the cycle begins anew.
If you have a lot of bleeding during your period, your blood's hemoglobin content may drop. Because hemoglobin is the component of red blood cells that transports oxygen, a decline in hemoglobin might temporarily impair your blood's capacity to transport oxygen.
False anemia, also known as sports anemia, occurs when the iron levels in the blood drop as a result of physical exertion in certain menstrual runners. Athletes' hemoglobin concentrations are lower than those of those who live a more sedentary lifestyle. As a result, this fake anemia is a response to aerobic activity such as jogging.
During the menstrual cycle, your body temperature fluctuates. In response to an increase in progesterone, it peaks during the luteal phase of the cycle. This implies that your body's cooling mechanisms aren't activated as rapidly. Because estrogen levels are greater during the follicular phase, your body temperature is lower.
Running may be done safely during either the follicular or luteal phases. But if you exercise outside during the luteal phase, especially in warmer weather, your temperature may remain raised. This is vital to remember since you will not begin sweating to cool down until your body temperature has increased. Maintaining a regular workout regimen, on the other hand, might improve your body's capacity to regulate temperature over time.
Hormone fluctuations might have an influence on your running performance. Estrogen may improve endurance by modifying protein, lipid, and carbohydrate metabolism, whereas progesterone may counteract estrogen's benefits. High-fibre carbs can also help fuel your runs, especially during the follicular phase of your cycle.
Is it okay to run during your period?
There are no proven disadvantages of exercising moderately during your period. While it is advisable to keep your pace at a comfortable level, it is always great to go on a run when menstruating. It has many different benefits coupled with the fact that you exercise correct running practices to avoid dehydration and aggravated pain.
How can you benefit from running while bleeding?
Running can actually help you take care of your cramps and it has several other psychological and physical impacts on you. When done correctly, running can have the following great benefits:
- Make you feel better - Running, like any other exercise, can help release endorphins in your body and these help you feel better emotionally. Endorphins are also great painkillers, which can automatically take care of your cramps.
- Helps relax pelvic muscles - A sedentary lifestyle can render your pelvic muscles stiff, which can be highly uncomfortable and painful over time. Running relaxes your muscles and as a result, you feel fewer contractions in your abdomen. Running can also improve your blood flow, which can make you feel less pain.
- Makes you feel energized - If you feel lazy during your periods, running can help elevate your body’s oxygen levels, making you feel more energized in the process.
- Deals with PMS symptoms - The endorphins released while running can keep mood swings, muscle aches and body aches in check, which are all common PMS symptoms.
Improves circulation - Running while on your periods helps improve blood circulation in your body, thus promoting more oxygen flow. This can help minimise bloating or swelling during your period.
How can you make the activity feel more comfortable?
Running should be a fun activity, but being on your period can make the experience feel a little uncomfortable at times. But, there are a few things you can do to make running feel more comfortable during Aunt Flo’s visit:
- Warm-up before - It’s important to warm up before you begin any intense exercise. This reduces the chances of getting a muscle cramp and also gives you more stamina and flexibility.
Remain hydrated - Unless you balance your body’s electrolytes, you risk suffering from more cramps and feeling weaker since you’re also losing blood. Have a few sips of water every 15 to 20 minutes during your runs to maintain adequate hydration levels in your body.
- Opt for an alternative period product - Pads may prove to be uncomfortable when engaging in high movement exercises like running. You may feel the blood flow more and also be disposed to higher chances of leaking. For exercises like running or hiking, you may go for the Carmesi Tampon or our menstrual cup, which are designed for worry-free exercising.
- Don’t speed - It’s important to maintain an average speed when running on your period to avoid the risk of overexertion and dehydration. Under these circumstances, you risk feeling worse from a speedy sprint.
- Follow a healthy diet - Eating well-balanced nutrition with a lot of fruits, nuts and vegetables ensures that you are eating healthy. Running can become easier and more fun when you eat healthily. Cut out smoking and alcohol from your diet, especially during your periods, to avoid painful cramps. Also, if you are experiencing heavy flow on a particular day, avoid running on that day and take it up on subsequent days for a better experience.
- Don’t forget to breathe - It’s important to breathe naturally when running for maintaining your pace and keep your stamina up. Breathe through both your nose and mouth to provide an unrestricted flow of oxygen for a better run.