News - 8th March 2023

Five ways to feel more comfortable (and confident) getting active during your period


Guest article by Vitality*


Why is it that some days getting active can seem super easy and leave you energised – while on other days the same workout feels like moving through treacle and at the end you feel exhausted?


There are many factors at play, but one that women often fail to consider is where they are in their menstrual cycle.


Getting active during your period is often the last thing anyone wants to be doing. You might be feeling self-conscious and apprehensive about getting out and about in exercise gear.


However, performing some light exercise has been proven to relieve symptoms, such as pain, cramps, bloating, mood swings, fatigue, and nausea.


Vitality shares five ways you can feel more confident and at ease while engaging in physical activity on your period – handy considering you’re likely to have more than 400 periods during your lifetime.


1) Red alert!


Knowing the stages of your cycle allows you to work with its ebbs and flows. Period-tracking apps are often used to inform users when to expect their period or when is best to try and conceive. This is known as cycle-mapping.


But did you know that cycle-mapping can also help to maximise your physical activity? According to personal trainer Jacqueline Hooton, your hormones can play a huge role in your exercise routine, from injury risk to muscle strength recovery


For example, one study found that the first 14 days of your menstrual cycle is a better time to optimise resistance training rather than the last two weeks. An increase in strength while you are on your period means, it’s a good time to take part in power-based strength training.


2) Pack a period kit


When on your period, it’s comforting to know you have provisions for every eventuality. If you struggle with irregular periods, having the necessary items in hand can be a source of comfort.


Putting a period pack together, in a wash or make-up bag, with all your essentials ensures you’re covered. This will give you confidence for when you visit your local gym, local parkrun or swimming pool and help you deal with anything that comes your way.


Here are a few suggestions to include in your period pack:

  • Back up underwear
  • Pads, tampons or menstrual cup
  • Painkillers – paracetamol, ibuprofen and aspirin help relieve pain
  • A pack of tissues
  • Panty liners


Don’t forget to top them up when running low, as the items get used.




3) Don’t let your period cramp your style


Where we are on the menstrual cycle might affect the type of clothing we wear when being active. Here, colour and comfort are key.


Depending on your symptoms, whether that be bloating or irritability, loose-fitting clothing is easier to move in and more comfortable.


According to the NHS, you may bleed more heavily when you exercise, so it’s a good idea to have extra precautions in place. Thankfully, there are now specifically designed period-proof activewear available that help protect you against unwanted accidents.


So, don’t let your period cramp your style and enjoy your workout without the added concern of leakages.


4) Get your stretch on


Incorporating light movement before and after exercise is important for our bodies. Studies have shown that slow movement before an aerobic workout can reduce muscle soreness, increase blood flow and lessen the risk of injury.


Yet, what people often don’t realise is that movement and stretching can alleviate painful menstrual symptoms by improving blood flow around areas that are feeling sensitive and release tension too.


Light activity also makes you feel more positive and less irritable by practising mindfulness with the use of the breath and releasing endorphins, the feel-good hormone.


5) Manage the bloat


The benefits of staying hydrated and consuming the right foods are commonly known. During your cycle, drinking enough liquids can help with the unpleasant side effects, such as bloating and constipation.


Researchers found that drinking water can significantly weaken menstrual pain, which can make physical activity more enjoyable. You can also eat water-rich foods, like watermelon and cucumber.


It’s important to note that at this time your iron levels might dip and you might be craving more food than usual. Sweet fruits and leafy green vegetables are a great source of nutrients to consume whilst in your cycle.


The sweet fruit can help satisfy sugar cravings without resorting to refined sugars, which can cause glucose levels to spike and crash. Whereas leafy greens, such as kale and spinach, can help with iron deficiency and support energy levels to help keep you going for longer.




*This article was originally published by on 28.02.23

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