Exercise is often seen as a remedy for many health problems and diseases. All fitness programmes can be classified into four categories:

  • Aerobics exercises: They are also known as cardio exercises which involve energy generation. Aerobic exercises involve brisk walking, running, swimming and cycling.
  • Strength training: These exercises aim at building strength and muscle mass, burn extra fat and improve fitness. Strength exercises involve weight lifting, resistance bands, sit-ups and push-ups. 
  • Flexibility exercises: These exercises help in stretching the body to its maximum limit to keep it flexible. Yoga is a type of flexibility exercise.
  • Exercises for balance: These exercises help in bringing stability in the body. Simple exercises like heel-to-toe walking, one leg stand and sideways walking help in maintaining the body balance. 

Exercising should be done on a daily basis, even during your menses. There are various benefits of exercising during periods. Some of them are:

  • Exercising helps in improving the mood swings during periods.
  • Exercising improves blood circulation which therefore reduces period pain.
  • Exercising also releases endorphins which help in relieving menstrual cramps.
  • Exercising makes you active and helps in beating fatigue.

Here are five fitness regimens which can help you stay active even during your periods. Other than inverted yoga poses like a headstand, you can do any exercise you feel comfortable doing.

  1. Walking during periods
  2. Yoga during periods
  3. Pilates during periods
  4. Dancing during periods
  5. Sports during periods

Studies have concluded that walking during periods can help in dealing with pain and also the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). It not only helps the body physically but it also uplifts the mood. All you need to do is to walk around your block for 15-20 minutes. If you have a pet, just take him or her for a walk. This will help your blood flow properly and reduce your pain.

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Doctors and scientists who have been researching the benefits of yoga conclude that asanas, pranayamas, and mudras of yoga are potent in restoring and maintaining physical and mental health. Depending on your skill and comfort level, here are some asanas you can try during your periods: 

  • Surya namaskar: Surya namaskar (sun salutation) helps in restoring the hormonal balance by directly acting on the pituitary, adrenal and thyroid glands.
  • Bhujangasana: Bhujangasana (cobra pose) helps in curing irregular periods.
  • Shalabhasana: Shalabhasana (locust pose) helps in relieving back pain during menses. 
  • Dhanurasana: Dhanurasana (bow pose) helps in relieving bloating and heavy bleeding during menses.
  • Paschimottanasana: Paschimottanasana (seated forward bend) helps in relieving pain in the hamstrings and calves (leg pain) which is common during periods.
  • Ustrasana: Ustrasana (camel pose) helps in relieving the cramps and pain during periods.
  • Vajrasana: Vajrasana (thunderbolt pose) is believed to treat menstrual disorders like PMS and amenorrhoea.
  • Marjari-asana: Marjari-asana (cat stretch) helps in relieving abdominal cramps during periods.
  • Savasana: Savasana (corpse pose) helps the abdominal and vaginal muscles to relax, thus relieving cramps during menses.  

Although yoga asanas are beneficial in every aspect, some inverted postures like Sirshasana (head stand), Sarvangasana (shoulder stand), Halasana (plough pose) and Hanumanasana (monkey pose) are contraindicated during menses.

Pilates is a form of exercise which is inspired by callisthenics, yoga and ballet. Pilates aims at strengthening the muscles and improving the balance and flexibility of the body. Pilates has the ability to reduce back pain which is common during menses. Pilates is not as strenuous as the regular gyming, thus can help in stretching the body with minimal discomfort.

Many women believe that dancing helps in reducing pain in the lower abdomen during menses. A study has indicated that women who took a one-hour class of Zumba, a combination of dance and aerobic exercise, once a week, suffered less menstrual cramps than others. Dancing also helps in dealing with the mood swings during periods. All you need to do is to plug in your earphones, wear a comfortable pyjama and dance your stress out.

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Certain sports like boxing, badminton and table tennis which use more of your upper body strength can be done during periods. These exercises help in maintaining the flexibility of the body without putting too much strain on it.

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