Periods shouldn’t stop us from keeping fit, but there’s not much information out there to help. So we’ve worked with Bodyform to develop the Red.fit programme to help you keep fit right through your body’s monthly cycle.
During our menstrual cycle, our hormone levels (in particular, oestrogen and progesterone) are constantly changing. So we feel different, mentally and physically, at different times.
We’ve teamed up with the team at Bodyform to provide you with workout tips to suit each phase of your cycle to keep you feeling your best
Bodyform have worked with sports scientist Georgie Bruinvels to split your cycle into four key phases – BLEED (pretty obvious, that one), PEAK, BURN and FIGHT.
Exercise during your period can aid some of the symptoms you might get right now, like cramps. Plus, the endorphins your body creates naturally from exercise should help you feel happier and more relaxed. Your neuromuscular control slows down slightly here – so be careful when you’re training. The level of your white blood cells (which fight disease) may be a little lower, so supplement your diet with antioxidants – we’ll show you how.
You may be feeling tired, and exercise is probably not top of your to-do list. But it can help. You may find it easier to avoid endurance workouts and concentrate on some short strength exercises. We’re going to show you some stretches designed to help reduce period-related pain like cramps and backache. And some compound exercises, which use your own bodyweight as resistance.
You’re at your peak. And there’s more good news: the oestrogen in your system naturally stimulates growth hormones. Even if you’ve stopped growing taller this is good – we all need these to keep us healthy. Fat deposition around the breasts, bottom and thighs increases slightly here. Embrace those curves – they’re a sign that you’re at your peak!
Your body’s at its strongest, so increase your loading slightly – push yourself that bit harder. It’s the perfect time to achieve great results. If you normally do ten reps, do 15. If you normally cycle 10km, go for 15km. If it feels good, do it. You’ll surprise yourself with what you can achieve during the peak phase!
At this third phase, your body is still high in hormones like progesterone and oestrogen. Your metabolic rate may be increased here due to this change in levels. The good news is that your immune system is really firing on all cylinders and your body is able to burn fat most effectively.
Your Burn phase is often the best time for endurance training and events like long distance runs, because your body burns fat more effectively and stores up carbohydrate. And it’s a great time to go to the gym for a dance class – your body is perfectly geared for aerobic exercise – it needs a lot of oxygen to burn fat.
Fasten your seatbelts – most of us find this fourth phase the toughest. You’re pre- menstrual. Your hormone levels are dropping sharply, and that includes serotonin (the happiness hormone). You’re going to need a bit of help here, and we’re with you all the way.
You might be feeling stressed out, and you may have a few symptoms like water retention, premenstrual cramps, fatigue and your skin might not be looking its best. But take heart, it’s not just you – 75-85% of women are going through some of these symptoms too! Moderate physical exercise can help with premenstrual symptoms and it’s great for stress relief too.