Menstruation is the body’s signal to a woman that she is prepared to be a mother. However, instead of celebrating menstruation we often grow an ill feeling about it, we start to relate it with cramps and pains. Here is Yoof’s prescription to bring back your smiles on the happy days of period cramps.
Reasons for Menstrual Cramps
10 out of every 100 women face severe menstrual cramps and become unable to perform their daily work for one to three days every month. The reasons behind these cramps are :
- If the opening of the cervix is small enough to obstruct menstrual flow, it can cause menstrual cramps in women.
- Adenomyosis: A condition in which endometrial tissue exists within and grows into the uterine wall.
- Pelvic inflammatory diseases.
- Endometriosis: A disorder in which tissue that generally lines the uterus goes outside the uterus. It can then be found on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, or intestines.
Exercise provides a double dose of benefits to relieve cramps. First, when you exercise, your brain releases hormones called endorphins. Endorphins block pain receptors in your brain, helping to stop pain signals from your cramping, and contracting uterus. Aerobic exercise, even a brisk walk, can release endorphins and provide some pain relief.
Exercise also improves circulation throughout your entire body, including your uterus. When you have cramps, your uterus is contracting so hard that it is cutting off some blood flow, which sends pain signals to the brain. By opening up these blood vessels with increased circulation, you may be able to relieve menstrual cramp pain. Menstrual cramps can be really uncomfortable and painful, but they do happen for a reason. During your period, your uterus contracts — meaning it squeezes or cramps up. This makes the lining come off the walls of your uterus and leave your body. When your uterus cramps up, it’s helping the period blood flow out. Stretching and moderate-intensity exercises help relieve the pain caused by period cramps. Yoga and breathing exercises can be a good way to help reduce the pain caused by cramping. Yoga also reduces stress, improves flexibility, and strengthens muscles.
The myth behind Exercise for Menstrual Cramps:
It is true that both progesterone and estrogen are at their lowest during the entire phase of period-days, so women feel less energetic and tired on these days. They also experience pain in the lower back and thighs, nausea, dizziness, etc. However, one should not believe in the myth that exercises during periods can only be harmful and drain more energy. If you follow the right exercises during this period, it would not only decrease your cramps, it would help you to relax physically and mentally.
Exercises to Do:
- Reclined Bound Angle Pose: Sit on the floor on a yoga mat or blanket rolled up at the base of your back, and keep a pillow. Now, bend your knees and bring the soles of your feet together. Then slowly back onto the blanket and rest your head on the pillow. This exercise is very relaxing.
- Wide Angle Forward Bend: Sit on the floor and extend your legs as wide as possible. Inhale and bring your arms over your head. Exhale and bend forward so that your head touches the floor with extending arms in front of you. Hold for one minute and then relax.
- Forward Bend: Stand straight with feet together. Inhale and uplift your arms towards the ceiling. Exhale as you bend from your hips to touch the floor with your hands.
- Head to Knee Pose: Sit with legs extended. Bend your right knee and keep the foot on the side of your left thigh. Inhale and take your arms overhead. Then exhale and bend to keep your head resting on your left thigh. Keep for 1 minute. Then, relax and repeat with alternate legs.
You can also do light walking or other light cardio exercises during this time.
- Reduces fatigue and energizes your body.
- Controls mood swings.
- Enhances your endorphins that help your body to fight the pain.
- Controls the dizziness and nausea.
- Helps to reduce back pain during menstruation.
- Uplifts your mood.
Exercise to Avoid
It depends on your body. Any exercise that you find more tiring than normal can be avoided in this phase. Suppose, you have pelvic pain and that is causing discomfort while performing squats during menstruation. Then, avoid squats these days. Generally, exercises that engage a lot of physical activity seem to be more tiring and difficult while you are facing period cramps.
So, from now on, try to control your menstrual cramps. You have to do these exercises regularly, not just on those 4 or 5 days. Change does not occur suddenly. It will take time, be patient. Drink a lot of water. Have a healthy and happy period.