But the truth is, gentle activity can often be the best medicine: “Exercise may seem like the last thing you want to do,” says Amy Hoover, DPT, a physical therapist at Pivlov, a physical therapy-inspired functional fitness method for women who have menstrual cycles each. Designs workouts for stages. “Learning to follow the right path for your specific needs can be rewarding and can improve not only the discomfort but also the mood and sense of accomplishment.”
How Can Exercise Relieve PMS Symptoms?
Exactly what causes PMS is not known. But experts believe that this may be due to a decrease in hormones – especially estrogen and progesterone – during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle, when the body is preparing to implant a fertilized egg. “Stress, malnutrition, alcohol, caffeine, and high-sodium / processed foods can also exacerbate PMS,” said Mayve McEwen, Pivlov’s head trainer and programming director.
So what better can a workout do? “Exercise can improve cortisol levels at rest, and we know that cortisol contributes to hormonal imbalances,” said Dr. Hoover. “Movement also helps improve blood flow, which can reduce fullness and swelling.”
Dr. Hoover says that certain types of exercise can also trigger our body to relax. “When we don’t feel well, we tend to subconsciously guard or stretch our muscles as part of our sympathetic nervous system response,” he says. “Tuning our bodies and noticing the areas of tension when we move our bodies can improve muscle tension and also help calm the nervous system.”
McEwen adds that any type of physical activity increases blood circulation and the body’s endorphin production. These reactions can boost your energy and mood, both of which are often less common with PMS. “Preferring low-impact and gentle movements when you are experiencing PMS can help reduce inflammation, keep your body temperature under control and control stress levels.”
Exercise gently and try to stretch
Movements to open the ribs, lower abdomen, spine and buttocks tend to be the most helpful in relieving discomfort before menstruation. “Typically, during PMS, we experience symptoms in the pelvic and abdominal regions and this can cause tension in this area,” Dr. Hoover explained. “Practicing open buttocks, rotating the spine, relaxing and lengthening the torso, and deep breathing can help improve blood flow and make the pelvis feel fuller during PMS.”
He added that movements targeting the neck and shoulders as well as promoting relaxed breathing can also help relieve the tension headaches often associated with PMS.
McEwen says contractions and lengthening of the spine, back muscles, and abdomen can relieve tension and cramping and increase circulation.
- Kneel down on your hands and knees involving a flat back and your core in a tabletop position.
- Breathe in as you stretch through your spine and lengthen through the front body, pull your chest forward and look upwards.
- Exhale and compress through your abdomen as you circle your upper spine towards the ceiling, lowering the head and tailbone to the floor.
- Repeat as many repetitions as possible at a pace that works best for your body.
McEwen says it’s a great dynamic extension to relieve PMS symptoms. “Concentrate on breathing and make room in your buttocks,” she says. “It can increase circulation and reduce excessive gripping or tension.”
- Get down on one knee, straighten your torso and tighten the core in front of the other leg (including the knee at right angles).
- Squeeze the glue on the hind legs and move your pelvis forward as you reach the overhead.
- Repeat eight to ten slows.
- Then, open your front thigh about 45 degrees to the side and again move your buttocks to that leg, extending to the inner thigh as you reach the top.
- Repeat eight to ten slows.
- Don’t forget your second direction.
Permanent abdominal rotation
“This step can help increase blood flow by gently wrapping your abdomen around and rotating backwards,” McQueen noted.
- Stand tall on one leg, the other leg pointing in front of you. Hold the glue on the leg you are standing on and reach for the top of your hand.
- Breathe as you lengthen your abs and chest. Then exhale, bringing your front knees and arms toward the midline of your body and twisting your torso towards the front legs.
- Complete eight to 10 repetitions.
- Change side
Diaphragmatic breathing with lateral reaching
Through this exercise, McQueen aims to make your breathing longer than your breathing. “It can help tap into a parasympathetic state (‘rest and digestion’), calm your nervous system and thus raise lower cortisol levels,” he explains.
- Sit in a comfortable position with a long, neutral spine. Place your hands around your lower rib cage.
- Breathe in, stretch your entire abdomen and rib cage 360 degrees.
- Exhale slowly without holding your shoulders, buttocks or abdomen.
- Continue this breathing pattern as you straighten your arms and reach both sides to create more space and relaxation.
Exercise Tips to Relieve PMS Symptoms
When you’re down to count with PMS symptoms, you may not feel like logging in a difficult HIIT class or long run miles. And that’s completely fine.
“Choose a movement that matches what you feel for the day. Notice where you are feeling the tension or where you may feel the symptoms and try to focus your movements in that area,” Dr. Hoover advises. “Where you feel uncomfortable. Moving there may seem like the opposite, but connecting to what you feel and then allowing movement in that area will actually improve blood flow and eventually relieve your symptoms. “
Plan to work at a time when you have the power to focus and move mentally. “Generally, keeping your workout intensity short and gentle can help alleviate some PMS symptoms and help prevent a spike in cortisol,” McEwen said.
McEwen also recommends strategically planning your workouts Everywhere Take advantage of the best time to focus on energy, cardio, recovery, etc. depending on your menstrual cycle, your hormone levels. P.volve’s on-demand series Phase and Function includes movement, mindset, food and educational tools that have been co-created with a registered dietitian and OB-GYN to help you start a cycle-syncing routine. Because the choices you make in an episode can affect your feelings later on. “Cycle syncing can improve optimal hormone balance and thus alleviate PMS, not only when PMS is present, but throughout the cycle,” McQueen said.
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