Be your best when you’re feeling down

 Be your best when you’re feeling down

Be your best when you’re feeling down

Be your best when you're feeling down

Be your best when you’re feeling down

July 8, 2022 – This weekend sees the Wimbledon finale as the world’s best tennis players battle it out for one of the most coveted championships in sport. But as that excitement unfolds on the pitch, other drama has unfolded in the dressing room – where players empathize with the stress and anxiety of competing during their period.At least that’s what we can deduce from Olympic champion Monica Puig, who sparked a public debate on the topic in May. In response to a tweet about “why women Menstruation is never mentioned as a possible factor in discussions about losing the top seed in the women’s draw,” she said. “Definitely something that affects female athletes!”

“Finally draw everyone’s attention to it!” Puig continued. “Not to mention the mental stress of being dressed all in white at Wimbledon and praying you don’t get a period for those two weeks.”

In fact, more and more players are speaking out about the effects of periods on their game. British tennis pro Heather Watson spoke about it back in 2015 when she was beaten in the first round of the Australian Open. Her period had started that day and she was groggy and lethargic, she said.

The growing discussion around the seemingly taboo topic – in a relatively traditional and rigorous sport no less – seems to signal that things are changing, and not just for tennis players but for all women trying to be active.After all, you don’t have to be a world-renowned tennis star to know that period training can be a real pain – literally. Many women have the cramps, fatigue, and anxiety of dripping through workout clothes (despite what feminine hygiene marketing would have you believe anything on your period as long as you use their products). For those with regular periods, the cycle affects all areas of life, including exercise routines.

The good news is, you can find ways to not only help you feel good, but to look your best during your period.

Armed with the right mindset and the right information, you can Reach impressive levels of performance during your period, says Stacy T. Sims, PhD, an international exercise physiologist and nutritionist. It’s about planning your workout to make it work With your body instead of against it.
“In training, we can use knowledge about the ebb and flow of our hormones and how our bodies adapt to stress to our advantage,” she says.And if you can do that, not only will you be able to keep moving when you’re not feeling like it, but you’ll also be able to manage the monthly symptoms. More good news: With renewed public interest in the topic, there’s never been a better time to talk about periods and performance. So let’s talk.

How your menstrual cycle affects your energy

Step one is learning about your cycle so you can anticipate your less energetic — and more energetic — days, says Madalyn Turner, a board-certified menstrual trainer, chiropractor, and women’s menstrual cycle expert in St. Petersburg, FL.

The mensuration cycle is divided into four phases, she says. In order they are:

  • Menstruation: At this point, the lining of the womb is shedding and you get your period.
  • Follicular: This happens between the first day of your period and ovulation.
  • Ovulation: In this phase, an egg is released from the ovary and estrogen is at its peak.
  • Luteal: This marks the days between ovulation and the start of your next period when the body prepares for a possible pregnancy.
How to adapt your training to your cycle

Be your best when you're feeling down

Be your best when you’re feeling down

In the days leading up to and during your period, you may feel tired, cranky, or achy, possibly due to the drop in hormones like estrogen and progesterone in the body. However, if you can move your body, even a little, it can relieve your symptoms.

“You don’t have to do it every day of the month,” says Sims. “During your period week, it’s great to exercise as you feel able.”

Consider short bouts of moderate exercise, she says. “A short burst of activity, like a 20-minute brisk walk, is a great way to increase the pain-killing endorphins in the body,” says Sims.

In fact, a Study 2015 found that moderate aerobic exercise can help increase your energy and improve focus during premenstrual syndrome (PMS), and a Study 2018 found that 8 weeks of aerobic exercise reduced physical PMS symptoms such as headache, nausea and bloating.Finish your workout with light stretches, Sims recommends.

Turner believes the follicular phase is a great time to really push your training. That’s because a surge in estrogen can make you feel more energized, she says.You can try high-intensity interval training or lifting with heavier weights and fewer reps, or high-intensity cardio like a bike class.

Estrogen is at its peak during ovulation. Your energy levels and mental clarity are at a monthly high, Sims says. That makes this a good time for one last push before shifting gears on the next phase of your cycle. Sims recommends reaction exercises, moderate-weight lifting with higher reps, and high-intensity cardio like running.

As you enter the final phase of your cycle — the luteal phase — your energy levels will likely still be high, although it may drop as your period approaches and hormone levels change.

That makes this a good time to switch to moderate aerobic activity, such as exercise. Examples include using an elliptical, taking a Pilates class, or lifting lighter weights for higher reps, Sims says. Hiking, rowing and biking are also great options, she says.

Bottom line: Knowing what’s best for you and your unique cycle can help you feel better throughout all of your workouts, says Turner. And you don’t have to be a professional athlete to do that.”We’ve usually become ingrained in the idea that when our period comes, all we can do is lie on the couch,” says Turner. “But I believe we’re the generation that’s moving beyond this outdated narrative and being truly empowered by learning how to work with the beauty of our body, not against it.”

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