Updated: Aug 19
Authors: Parthika Patel, SPT3 and Jennifer Penn, PT, DPT, Cert.MDT
When it comes to managing menstrual symptoms, many women reach for painkillers or heating pads. However, there’s a simple and natural solution that often goes overlooked: walking. Incorporating regular walks into your routine during your period can provide a range of benefits that go beyond just physical relief. Walking in nature or simply being outdoors can have a positive impact on your overall well-being. The fresh air, sunlight, and connection with nature can enhance your mood, reduce stress levels, and provide a sense of relaxation and rejuvenation. Taking a walk during your period allows you to benefit from these natural mood-boosting benefits.
In this blog, we’ll explore the numerous advantages of walking while on your period, from reducing cramps to boosting mood and overall well-being. Although walking is the most important, there are other exercises with positive effects on your well being. Get the full guide here: “The Menstrual Exercise Handbook: Your Path to Optimal Health & Happy Periods” for more exercises.
Benefits of Walking During Your Period:
Alleviates Menstrual Cramps:
Walking stimulates blood circulation and helps relax the muscles in your abdomen, reducing the intensity of menstrual cramps. The gentle movement and increased blood flow can alleviate tension and minimize discomfort, allowing you to move more freely during your period.
Natural Pain Relief:
Engaging in physical activity releases endorphins, our body’s natural painkiller. Walking triggers the release of these “feel-good” hormones, which can help alleviate menstrual pain and improve your overall mood. It’s a natural and drug-free way to combat period-related discomfort.
Bloating is a common complaint during menstruation, but walking can help combat this uncomfortable symptom. By increasing circulation and promoting digestion, walking can aid in reducing water retention and bloating, leaving you feeling lighter and more comfortable.
Boost Energy Levels:
While it may seem counterintuitive, walking can actually boost your energy levels during your period. Physical activity increases blood flow, delivering oxygen and nutrients to your muscles and organs. This oxygenation process can improve energy levels and help counteract the fatigue often associated with menstruation.
Improves Mood and Reduces Stress:
Hormonal fluctuations during your period can lead to mood swings and increased stress levels. Walking acts as a natural stress reliever by releasing endorphins and promoting production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter associated with mood regulation. Walking outdoors in nature can be particularly beneficial, as it enhances the calming and mood-lifting effects.
Enhances Sleep Quality:
Sleep disturbances are not uncommon during menstruation. Regular walking can help regulate sleep patterns by promoting relaxation, reducing anxiety, and improving overall sleep quality. Just be sure to avoid intense exercise close to bedtime, as it can have an energizing effect.
Promotes Hormonal Balance:
Exercise including walking can play a role in maintaining hormonal balance. Physical activity can help regulate the endocrine system, which controls the release of hormones in the body. By incorporating walking into your routine, you can support hormonal balance and potentially reduce the severity of your PMS symptoms.
Heart Rate: To optimize the benefits and comfort level during your period, aim for a heart rate within the moderate intensity zone (Zone 3 - 70-80% of MHR).
Speed: Walk at a speed of 2.5 to 3.5 mph for moderate intensity exercise.
Duration: Walk for 30 minutes a day with rests as needed.
Frequency: Walk approximately 3-5 times per week.
By aiming for a target heart rate within the moderate intensity zone (Zone 3), you can optimize the effectiveness of your workout while ensuring comfort and safety. Remember to calculate your individual target heart rate range based on your age and listen to your body's cues throughout the exercise. For more information on target heart rate zones download our FREE EBook “The Menstrual Exercise Handbook: Your Path to Optimal Health & Happy Periods”.
Tips To Consider While Walking:
1. Wear Comfortable Clothing: Choose loose-fitting, breathable clothing that allows for ease of movement. Opt for materials that wick away moisture, such as moisture-wicking leggings or workout attire, to keep you dry and comfortable during your walk.
2. Use Proper Menstrual Protection: Prior to your walk, make sure you're using appropriate menstrual protection, whether it's pads, tampons, or menstrual cups. Choose products that provide reliable leakage protection and allow you to move freely without discomfort.
3. Stay Hydrated: It's important to stay hydrated during physical activity, especially when you're on your period. Drink water before, during, and after your walk to maintain proper hydration levels and support overall well-being.
4. Pace Yourself: Listen to your body and adjust your walking pace accordingly. If you're experiencing more significant cramps or fatigue, you may want to start with a slower pace and gradually increase your speed as you feel more comfortable. Allow yourself to take breaks or shorten your walking distance if needed.
5. Warm-Up and Stretch: Before starting your walk, perform a short warm-up routine to loosen up your muscles and joints. Focus on gentle stretches for your lower back, hips, and legs. Warming up and stretching can help prevent muscle tension and cramps during your walk.
6. Pay Attention to Posture: Maintain good posture while walking to support your back and relieve tension in your lower abdomen. Keep your head up, shoulders relaxed, and spine aligned. Engage your core muscles for stability and proper alignment.
7. Choose Scenic Routes: Consider walking in nature or choosing scenic routes to enhance your walking experience. Being in a natural environment can have a calming effect and improve your mood, helping to alleviate menstrual discomfort and stress.
8. Carry Essentials: Carry a small bag or waist pouch with essentials such as tissues, pain relievers, and an extra menstrual product. Having these items readily available can provide peace of mind and ensure you're prepared for any unexpected needs.
9. Listen to Your Body: Everyone's experience with menstruation is different, so it's essential to listen to your body and adjust your walk accordingly. Factors such as fitness level, overall health, and individual comfort should be taken into consideration. If you find that your heart rate exceeds the moderate intensity zone or you experience discomfort, it's advisable to slow down your pace and decrease the intensity. If you experience increased pain, dizziness, or any other unusual symptoms, it's best to rest and seek medical advice if necessary.
10. Practice Self-Care Afterwards: After your walk, take some time for self-care. Rest, relax, and engage in activities that bring you comfort, such as taking a warm bath, practicing gentle yoga, or indulging in your favorite healthy snacks.
Remember, walking during your period is a personal choice, and it's important to do what feels right for your body. By following these tips and listening to your body's needs, you can enjoy the benefits of walking while managing your menstrual symptoms effectively. Walking during your period is an excellent way to stay active, relieve menstrual symptoms, and promote overall well-being. So, lace up your shoes, step outside and experience the natural and empowering benefits of walking during your period. Your body will thank you !
For more information on the benefits of exercise during all phases of your menstrual cycle, please download our free guide: “The Menstrual Exercise Handbook: Your Path to Optimal Health & Happy Periods”.
If you have specific concerns or questions about exercise and your menstrual cycle, schedule your free in-person consultation with our Pelvic Floor Specialist Doctor of Physical Therapy.
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