Period pain has always been something that I’ve suffered from, and it definitely puts me off working out. I’m not alone, of course—80% of women have period pain. Mine always lasts the first two days of my period, and it usually consists of the following: pain in my lower stomach, my back, the tops of my legs, as well as being a bit shaky. My usual way of coping with that was to grab a hot water bottle, chuck a few Advil down my throat, and eat a lot of chocolate (I know, it’s such a cliché).
That was all well and good, until I was training for 10ks and a half marathon. At that point, the curling-up-and-crying-at-the-TV thing wasn’t really an option, as it would mess up my training schedule. To make matters worse, I I wasn’t even sure it was okay to exercise when I was on my period. As it turns out, it’s totally fine; in fact, it’s better than fine. That’s according to a new study conducted by researchers from St. Mary’s University in collaboration with FitrWoman and Strava (a social fitness app that connects athletes).
After analyzing data from 14,000 female athletes, the researchers discovered that a staggering 78% of women say that exercise relieved discomfort associated with their menstrual cycle. That’s in spite of the fact that so many women opt out of exercise while in the midst of their menstrual cycle (probably due to the lack of dialogue and education surrounding the topic; it’s no surprise then that 72% of the participants said they never received any menstrual-exercise education at all). So rest assured, exercise works like a natural form of Midol. Keep scrolling to learn more about the link between exercise and menstruation, as well as see the 5 best physical activities for relieving symptoms.