But the truth is that gentle activity can often be the best medicine: “Exercise can seem like the last thing you want to do,” says Amy Hoover, DPT, physiotherapist at P.volve, a method of functional fitness. inspired by physiotherapy. for women who plans workouts for each phase of the menstrual cycle. “Learning to move in the right way for your specific needs can be satisfying and not only improve the discomfort but also the mood and sense of accomplishment.”
How Can Exercise Relieve PMS Symptoms?
Exactly what causes PMS is unknown. However, experts believe that it may be due to a drop in hormones – especially estrogen and progesterone – during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle, when the body is preparing to implant a fertilized egg. “Stress, nutrient deficiencies, alcohol, caffeine and high-sodium / processed foods can also make premenstrual syndrome worse,” says Maeve McEwen, P.volve’s chief trainer and programming director.
So what good can a workout do? “Exercise can improve resting cortisol levels, and we know that cortisol contributes to hormonal imbalances,” says Dr. Hoover. “Exercise also helps improve blood flow, which can reduce bloating and bloating.”
Dr. Hoover says that certain types of exercise can also activate our body to relax. “When we are not feeling well, we tend to protect or stretch our muscles subconsciously as part of our sympathetic nervous system response,” he says. “Coordinating our body and observing areas of tension while moving our body can improve muscle tension and also help calm the nervous system.”
McEwen adds that any type of physical activity increases the circulation and production of endorphins by the body. These answers can boost your energy and mood, which are often low with PMS. “Giving priority to lower impact and milder movements when treating PMS can also help reduce inflammation, keep your body temperature regulated and regulate stress levels.”
Gentle exercises and stretches to try
Movements that open the ribs, abdomen, spine, and hips tend to be most helpful in relieving premenstrual discomfort. “Typically, during premenstrual syndrome, we experience symptoms in the pelvic and abdominal areas and this can lead to tension in this area,” explains Dr. Hoover. “Opening the hips, rotating the spine, relaxing and lengthening the torso and practicing deep breathing can help improve blood flow and relieve pelvic fullness during premenstrual syndrome.”
He adds that movements that target the neck and shoulders while promoting relaxed breathing can also help relieve tension headaches often associated with premenstrual syndrome.
McEwen says that contracting and lengthening the spine, back and abdominal muscles can relieve tension and cramps and boost circulation.
- Get down on your hands and knees in a table position with your back flat and your core tied.
- Inhale as you extend through your spine and lengthen from the front body, pulling your chest forward and looking up.
- Exhale and contract through your abs as you round the top of your spine to the ceiling, dropping your head and tail toward the floor.
- Continue for as many repetitions and at a speed that works best for your body.
McEwen says this is a great dynamic stretch to relieve the symptoms of PMS. “Focus on breathing and creating space in your hips,” he says. “This can stimulate traffic and reduce excessive grip or tension.”
- Lie down on one knee, the other leg in front (with the knees at a right angle) with your torso upright and your core tight.
- Squeeze the glutes on the back leg and move your pelvis forward while reaching above the head.
- Repeat eight to 10 slow repetitions.
- Then open your front leg about 45 degrees to the side and move your hips back to that leg, stretching your inner thighs as you reach over your head.
- Repeat eight to 10 slow repetitions.
- Do not forget your other side.
Upright turns of the abdomen
“This movement can help stimulate circulation by gently engaging your abs and rotating your back,” McEwen notes.
- Stand high on one foot, with the other foot facing you. Press the buttocks on the leg you are standing on and reach your hands over your head.
- Inhale as you lengthen your abs and chest. Then exhale, bringing your front knee and arms toward the midline of your body while twisting your torso toward your front leg.
- Complete eight to 10 repetitions.
- Swap sides
Diaphragmatic breathing with lateral vessels
With this exercise, McEwen says, aim to make your exhalations bigger than your inhalations. “This can help achieve a parasympathetic state (‘rest and digestion’), calm your nervous system and thus promote lower cortisol levels,” he explains.
- Sit in a comfortable position, maintaining a long, neutral spine. Place your hands around your low cage.
- Inhale, extending your entire abdomen and ribs 360 degrees.
- Exhale slowly without grasping your shoulders, hips or abdomen.
- Continue this breathing pattern as you extend your arms straight to both sides to create further space and relaxation.
Exercise Tips to Relieve PMS Symptoms
When you can not measure the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, you may not feel ready to go through a hard HIIT course or record long miles. And that’s perfectly fine.
“Choose a move that matches what you feel that day. “Observe where you are holding tension or where you may be experiencing symptoms and try to focus your movements on this area,” Dr. Hoover advises. “It may seem inconceivable to move where you feel uncomfortable, but connecting with what you feel and then moving to these areas will improve blood flow and ultimately relieve your symptoms.”
Plan to exercise at a time when you have the energy to focus and move carefully. “In general, keeping the intensity of your workout on the shorter and gentler side can help alleviate some of the symptoms of PMS and can help prevent cortisol elevations,” says McEwen.
McEwen also recommends that you plan your workouts strategically throughout your menstrual cycle, taking advantage of the best times to focus on strength, cardiorespiratory exercise, recovery, etc. depending on your hormone levels. The Phase and Function series on demand by P.volve features movement, mindset, meals and training tools created jointly with a registered dietitian and OB-GYN to help you start a cycle synchronization routine. Because the choices you make in one phase can affect how you feel in the next. “Cycle synchronization, not only when there is PMS, but throughout the cycle, can promote optimal hormonal balance and thus alleviate PMS,” says McEwen.
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