We hear a lot about what’s good to eat during your period – yay dark chocolate! – and which spot treatments to reach for to banish pesky period breakouts.
You’ve probably also read that exercise can actually be beneficial on your period for various reasons – as a mood booster, for alleviating stress, and for helping cramps just to name a few. According to medical professionals and Health.com, regular activity during your period can even bring “less cramping and a less heavy flow.” When I found out exercise could bring less cramping and pain, I was all in (ok, well sort of). Then I found out that apparently, “high-intensity interval training” may be the best kind of exercise to do during that time of the month. Let’s be honest, not every #BlumeBabe has exercise on the top of her list during her period—let alone anything with the words “high-intensity” (but if that’s you, you go girl! Olympian #BlumeBabes exist too).
Wouldn’t it be great if you had some kind of exercise that gave you these same awesome benefits but didn’t require you to hit up the gym? Here are 3 exercise ideas to try on your period that do not involve the gym:
Hear me out on this one! Hasn’t swimming been the traditional thing you can’t do on your period? Ever thought you had to miss out on a beach day or swimming because of your period? Or maybe you were traumatized by an unrelenting coach in gym class, who insisted your period wasn’t a reason to skip out on the pool unless you had a doctor’s note – seriously?! SIGH. It’s time to throw those myths aside. Swimming can be an amazing form of exercise both on and off your period. I love swimming on my period, especially because it helps with my lower back pain.
“But wait!” you yell, “I often often feel bloated and heavy on my period! How can I swim?” Well, the magical thing about swimming is it makes you feel weightless (like a less cool version of those sensory deprivation chambers).
Check out your local pool schedule, and find a time that isn’t booked for noisy children. Put on your favorite, most comfy bathing suit (you don’t need to only wear a bikini or one-piece if you’re not comfortable), and enjoy swimming about or floating around like a starfish in weightless bliss. After you’re done, hop in the hot tub and let the warm water ease out any cramps. The best part? It’s clean, you can shower right after, and you won’t overheat. Just make sure you put in a fresh tampon right before, and you’re good to go!
Don’t want to or can’t wear a tampon? Girl, no one said you need to sit on the side listening to Beiber the entire time (at least go for Beyonce...sheesh). If you’re planning on going swimming in a large open natural body of water then hop right in, no tampon necessary. But note, when you get out of the water your period might flow down your leg (not a huge deal). If you’re really uncomfortable you can have a towel ready at the side for when you get out. “But I’m swimming in a pool Blume. It’s winter!” Although your period flow can slow due to the water pressure, we still recommend wearing a tampon if you’re swimming in a public facility. Like your spit, your period is not dirty, but we want to prevent any potential disease transmission (would you want to swim around in someone’s spit…). If you don’t have access to a beach or tampon then you can always enjoy the water up to your knees! Just make sure that you’re wearing clean swim attire and have a change of clothes for when you’re leaving.
YOGA, AT THE STUDIO OR AT HOME
I’m a yoga enthusiast, but on my period I don’t always love leaving my house or putting on my yoga gear. Yoga is a great exercise to do on your period and a great activity because you can do it individually or join a class at the studio. You can even practice yoga in the comfort of your own living room. Add your cat and it’s free cat yoga! Treat yourself by lighting a candle or turning on a diffuser with your favourite essential oils (but maybe hold off on the candles if you’re going with the cat option). Thanks to YouTube, there are tons of amazing channels run by real yoga instructors. One of my go-to channels is Yoga with Adriene. She has videos of every length, from full 1 hour practices to just 5 minutes. She titles them too, so you can find exactly what you feel like doing: Yoga for Mood Swings, Yoga for Bedtime (I’ve done that practice in the middle of the day, there are no rules!), Happiness Boost Yoga, and Detox Yoga are just a few of many. On top of the endless choices, Adriene is fun, full quirks, and relatable AF. I can’t promise you that you won’t be addicted after just one of her videos, long after your period is over!
THE BRUNCH AND WALK
This is perfect for anyone who wants to hit the refresh button. For the brunch-and-walk you’ll need to be craving delicious, unapologetically indulgent food (this is a given for me at all times of the month). Indulge in your favourite foods – hash browns and benedict? Or your sweet tooth – whipped cream and berries atop Belgian waffles? Digest your delicious meal by taking some time to explore through the park or shops, depending on your location. Grab a cup of soothing, herbal tea to go, and enjoy some peaceful reflection or people-watching. Studies show that regular, brisk walking is an effective form of exercise (Mayo Clinic). Walking also improves your mood, gets you fresh air, and improves mindfulness.
And there you have it, three completely different ways that can get you active during your period. Let’s change how we feel about exercise on our periods – do something that gets you moving, but more importantly something that makes you feel like the fabulous, empowered #BlumeBabe that you are. Or keep dancing in your underwear to that secret Spotify playlist you don’t show anyone – we won’t tell.