You’re determined to go for a run. You really will today. Then you feel that nagging backache telling you your period is on its way. Though a brisk 30-minute walk or some gentle cycling would probably help your mood, this just isn’t the time to be pushing yourself. The trainers go back under the bed. But in 10 days’ time it will be a different story
As a personal trainer, I’ve discovered through menstrual bleeding, hot sweats and lots of hormonal tears just how much my cycle matters. This is something I speak to every female client about; explaining how tracking and respecting their hormones is one of the most important things they can do for their overall fitness.
“Exercising in a way that specifically encourages hormonal balance will improve your mood, reduce PMS, enhance bone, brain and cardiovascular health and make you fitter,” agrees Dr Valeria Acampora from The Marion Gluck Clinic, a specialist hormone centre in London.
I’ve gone from being totally uninterested in the relationship between hormones and fitness to becoming borderline evangelical. I know that when I exercise in a way that’s mindful of my menstrual cycle, things feel good. When I don’t, well – there was the weightlifting class I walked out of because my PMS tears made it hard to see the barbell. I also once dropped a dumbbell on my foot because I was distracted by cramps. So, do as I say and not as I did.
As we know, everyone is individual and cycle lengths vary, but take day one of your period as the starting point and follow my guide to timing your workouts for the healthiest impact.