Don’t Let Those Periods Cramp Your Running Style

When I started running a couple of years back, there was one question that always plagued me, as I had never been into sports or intense physical activity before. It’s a valid concern that many women have and it’s something I hope I can now address. Is it ok to run during your periods? What if you get them on the day of the marathon? To find out how to deal with this predicament I began researching and talking to a number of long distance runners from the Philippines and India as well.running-girl

Yes, menstrual cramps and weakness can make you sluggish and irritable, but this is a case of mind over matter. Of course, there are many women who experience such severe pain and heavy bleeding during menstruation that they are practically incapacitated. The blood loss can also be weakening, especially if you suffer from some other ailment or nutritional deficiencies like anemia. For healthy and fit women, however, running and exercising during PMS and periods will have no adverse effect.

Here are few pointers to help maintain your running and fitness routine, despite your menstrual cycle:

Don’t Stop

“Several studies into the effects of menstrual cycle on female athletes have shown that physical performance does not suffer on account of menstruation, while pain caused by periods is reduced”

Moderate exercise and running can actually improve various severe side effects of menstruation, including uterine cramping, vomiting, nausea, and back pain. Several studies into the effects of menstrual cycle on female athletes have shown that physical performance does not suffer on account of menstruation, while pain caused by periods is reduced. When you exercise, your body increases blood flow to the uterus and boosts its production of endorphins, “feel-good” hormones that may counter the effects of pain-inducing prostaglandins in some women.

Pay Attention To Hydration 

“It is advisable to increase your fluid intake when running during your periods as body temperature is elevated and there is fluid loss through menstrual flow”

During ovulation, the body temperature is elevated and this makes you more susceptible to dehydration. There is also fluid loss through menstrual flow that further aggravates this problem. For this reason, it is advisable to increase your fluid intake when running during your periods. It would be best to carry an oral rehydration solution at such times to quickly replenish electrolyte balance in the body.

Clothing

“As you are more likely to feel the heat when you are menstruating, it makes sense to choose apparel cooler than what you would usually use”

For obvious reasons, it’s best to wear dark clothing when you have your period. Just make sure to stick to clothes that are comfortable and loose enough to not be restrictive. As you are more likely to feel the heat when you are menstruating, it makes sense to choose apparel cooler than what you would usually use. Try to opt for thin cotton fabrics that allow for better air flow.

Avoid Binging

“Boost your intake of vital nutrients by including nuts, leafy salads, sautéed vegetables, fish, red kidney beans, broccoli, chickpeas, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, bananas, avocado, yogurt, milk, oranges, and figs in your meals”

It’s best to not give in to junk food cravings and instead opt for foods that are rich in iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium, and B-complex. These nutrients are rapidly depleted with blood loss during menstruation and this can cause significant weakness. You can boost your intake of these vital nutrients by including nuts, leafy salads, sautéed vegetables, fish, red kidney beans, broccoli, chickpeas, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, bananas, avocado, yogurt, milk, oranges, and figs in your meals.

Personal Hygiene Products

“Menstrual cups are perhaps the best option for women who have heavy flow as they are reusable, long-wearing alternatives to pads and tampons”

From what I gather through my interaction with other runners, tampons are a better option. Keep in mind that tampons cannot be used for an extensive period of time and should be changed every three to four hours. Using sanitary pads can be uncomfortable when you’re running and they may even cause chafing, but this can be avoided by applying Vaseline on the inner thighs. Menstrual cups are reusable, long-wearing alternatives to pads and tampons. This is perhaps the best option for women who have heavy flow.

Be Prepared 

“You should always be ready to reduce the distance of your run if required, without feeling too bad about it”

In case of long runs, I carry a waist pouch with wet wipes and extra pads. You should also be ready to reduce the distance of your run if required, without feeling too bad about it. After all, you’re still clocking in the miles, despite your periods!

At the end of the day, you need to be more attentive to your body to figure out what works and what doesn’t. While these tips can help make it easier to run at that time of the month, you need to ‘go with the flow’!

Read Next: How Running Backwards Will Help You Push Those Fitness Goals Forward

Image Source:Pixabay

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