5 wonderful exercises to ease menstrual cramps and boost mood | Health

Exercising during menstrual cycle might seem counter-intuitive but it can actually relieve pain, bloating and mood swings that women experience around this time. Throbbing pain or cramps in lower abdomen is the most common symptom during periods and it happens due to contraction of uterus to expel its lining. Conditions like endometriosis and adenomyosis can often aggravate this pain, making it difficult to function normally. Physical activity during this time can help boost circulation, reduce cramping and discomfort by delivering more oxygen to the muscles. Exercise can also help release endorphins that act like natural painkillers to alleviate menstrual discomfort. Besides, movement can help boost mood which can also provide relief. (Also read: Irregular periods are not just menopause but can be sign of cervical cancer. Symptoms to watch out for)

Too much pain during periods can affect a woman’s physical as well as mental wellbeing. Inability to focus, respond, as well as emotional fluctuations like irritability, sadness, anger etc can be a deterrent during this time.(Freepik)

Why cramps are common during periods

“Cramps happen due to a hormone like substance known as ‘prostaglandin’ secretions. This hormone is primarily released in body followed by any injury, inflammation or infection. They help with blood vessels dilation or constriction alongside blood clotting. During menstrual cycle prostaglandin causes uterine muscle contractions in order to shed the tissues but too much of prostaglandin secretions by the uterus can lead to painful periods or menstrual cramps. Further it could be the structures that is the joints, muscle, the blood circulation, support around the pelvis and its organs greatly affects how it is going perceive hormonal changes during each menstrual cycles,” says Dr Priya Singh, Physiotherapist, Cloudnine Group of Hospitals, Navi Mumbai, Vashi.

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Too much pain during periods can affect a woman’s physical as well as mental wellbeing. Inability to focus, respond, as well as emotional fluctuations like irritability, sadness, anger etc can be a deterrent during this time.

Here are a set of exercises suggested by Dr Singh that can help alleviate period pain or primary dysmenorrhea.


1. Stretching and breathing exercises

This type of exercise is prescribed for the tighter muscle groups. Stretching exercises in sync with certain specific breathing exercise allow you to engage your core muscles efficiently and helps in stretching the muscles which aids in great blood circulation around the affected area.

2. Pelvic alignment

It can have greater impact on the intensity of pain that is experienced. Pelvic alignment includes components like the trunk imbalance, rotation, pelvic tilting, and lumbar lordosis angle which is directly controlled by the muscles of the hip and pelvic floor. Weakness of the pelvic floor muscles and hip would certainly contribute to disturbed pelvic alignment and that shall worsen the condition.

3. Myofascial release

This technique is performed to release your muscles which consists of trigger points or tenderness by applying moderate pressure across the fascia of the muscles causes it to relax the muscles. The pressure can be applied by hands or myofascial release tools.

4. Joint mobilization technique

To release tension around the pelvic joints if present, allows your muscles to perform better with improved pelvic range of motion.

5. Strength training

This is advised for the weaker individual or a group of muscles. One can train their muscles with weights especially during follicular phase of their cycle and many studies have shown great results regarding weight training during follicular phase.

Is exercising during periods safe?

“When it comes to exercising during menses, the first question that pops up in minds of many is – ‘is it really safe’? Well, yes, it is absolutely safe and helpful to perform exercises while you are having your menstrual cycles but keep the intensity in mind and do listen to your body. Exercising causes reduction in the prostaglandin secretion by the lining of uterus, release of endorphins which is a feel-good hormone helps managing the effects of prostaglandins. There is significant reduction in cortisol levels which reduces stress and mood swings,” adds Dr Singh.

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