PMS: Managing it with physical activity
As many as one in three women experience premenstrual syndrome (PMS). If you’re one of them, you’ll know the drill – in the days leading up to your period, emotional symptoms like irritability combine with physical symptoms, like bloating and headaches. The good news is there are a variety of lifestyle tweaks you can use and make to help manage symptoms of PMS, including being physically active.
Although you probably don’t feel like it, exercising when you have PMS is likely to make you feel a whole lot better. While it’s not a guaranteed ‘fix’, physical activity can provide natural pain relief by stimulating a combination of pain-fighting endorphins and increasing blood flow, to reduce cramping and other PMS symptoms, including bloating. Those endorphins also lift your mood and improve your energy levels.
The activity doesn’t have to be strenuous – the key message here is just to do something. You may not feel like running or boxing, so consider gentler, calmer options, like going for a walk, swimming or yoga.
Exercise can help you manage PMS in the long term, too. As well as delivering a hit of in-the-moment relief, research shows that regular physical activity also reduces the severity of PMS symptoms month to month. You can expect the beneficial effects to kick in after around two months if you make the effort to do something active most days of the week.