Expert / 9 May, 2023 / My Baba

How To Exercise In Tune With Your Menstrual Cycle

Exercising is essential to maintaining good health, and it is important to perform it in a way that benefits your body. The menstrual cycle is a matter of fact in women’s health, and it can impact the way we exercise. Exercising in tune with your menstrual cycle, also known as cycle syncing, can help you achieve the maximum benefit from your workout.

What is cycle syncing?

Cycle syncing refers to the practice of aligning daily activities, such as eating, exercising, and working, with the different phases of the menstrual cycle. The menstrual cycle can be divided into the follicular phase, ovulatory phase, luteal phase, pre-menstrual phase, and menstrual phase. Each phase is characterised by different hormonal changes, which can affect your energy levels, mood, and physical performance.

Cycle syncing with exercise specifically involves tailoring your workout routine to align with the different phases of your menstrual cycle. Adjusting your exercise routine to match your menstrual cycle can optimise your workouts, reduce the risk of injury, and potentially enhance your overall health and well-being. It will also help you avoid fatigue and break the dreaded weight loss plateau.

Who can benefit from cycle syncing?

While every woman can benefit from cycle syncing their exercise, it’s especially helpful to do if you are struggling with:

  • Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
  • Weight management
  • Irregular periods
  • Fatigue
  • Low libido
  • Infertility

If you’re not feeling 100 per cent yourself in your fitness routine, especially around your period, cycle syncing may be for you.

How to cycle sync your workouts

Here’s a simple guide on how to exercise in tune with the different stages of your menstrual cycle: 

Menstrual Phase (Days 1-5)

This phase begins on the first day of bleeding and lasts for about 3-7 days. During the menstrual phase, feeling tired and low in energy is normal. Therefore, it’s advisable to take it easy and opt for low-intensity exercises like yoga, walking or stretching. These exercises can also ease menstrual cramps and help you relax.

Follicular Phase (Days 6-14)

This phase begins on the first day of the menstrual cycle and lasts until ovulation. During this phase, the pituitary gland releases follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and increases your estrogen levels. As estrogen rises, your energy levels and endurance improve. This makes it an ideal time to engage in cardio workouts like running, cycling, and swimming. Resistance training can also be added to the mix to build strength.

Ovulatory Phase (Days 15-18)

This phase occurs when there is a surge in luteinizing hormone (LH) and triggers ovulation along with peak fertility. This usually happens around day 14 of the menstrual cycle, but it can vary from person to person. The ovulatory phase is when estrogen levels are at their peak, providing you with increased endurance and energy levels. This is a great time to engage in high-intensity workouts like HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training), circuit training or Tabata workouts.

Luteal Phase (Days 19-28)

This phase begins after ovulation and lasts until the start of the next menstrual cycle. During the luteal phase, estrogen and progesterone levels decrease, which can lead to mood swings, cramps, and fatigue. Low-impact exercises like Pilates, swimming, and yoga are ideal during this phase. Focusing on core strength training is also important, as it can help ease menstrual cramps.

Pre-Menstrual Phase (Days 28-1)

As your menstrual cycle draws to a close, you may experience PMS symptoms like bloating and fatigue. Low-impact exercises like walking, swimming, and yoga are still ideal during this phase. You can also engage in activities like dancing or boxing to help elevate your mood.

Exercising in tune with your menstrual cycle is an effective way to optimize the benefits of your workouts. By adjusting your exercise routine to match the different phases of your menstrual cycle, you can minimise the effects of hormonal changes on your body and maximise the results of your workouts. However, it’s important to listen to your body and adjust your routine based on how you’re feeling. If you’re experiencing pain, fatigue, or other symptoms, it might be a sign that you need to take a break or modify your workouts.

Article by Amanda Place, award-winning fitness coach and founder of Sculptrition. Sign up for two free weeks of fitness classes via Amanda’s website.

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