Pms Exercise Tips

Experts routinely recommend exercise and diet changes as natural ways to combat premenstrual syndrome, or PMS. When the heart rate begins to rise, a lot goes on inside the body that can positively influence a host of premenstrual symptoms. From the brain and central nervous system to the blood flowing through veins and arteries, increased levels of activity are good for you and your monthly cycle.

How Exercise Works to Alleviate PMS

Scientific research shows that physical activity creates a sort of molecular chain reaction that gives you a sense of well being and may, indeed, reduce many of the distressful conditions of PMS. When you increase activity levels, you also breathe harder. This raises the levels of oxygen in your system and, in turn, purges harmful toxins and allows for a higher circulation of nutrients. As oxygen-rich blood enters the brain, another series of events begins.

Chemicals known as beta-endorphins have the capability to induce pleasurable sensations. Scientists also believe endorphins can reduce the sensitivity to pain and may lead to a reduction in monthly cramping and other conditions.

A regular exercise routine, with the increase in oxygen consumption, can also help a host of other PMS issues:

  • anxiety
  • bloating
  • concentration
  • depression
  • fatigue
  • leg swelling.

Some research suggests that for physical pain, faster and higher impact exercise is effective. For the emotional side, such as mood swings and depression, gentler aerobic workouts appear to have greater benefit.

Exercise Tips that May Help Reduce PMS Symptoms

Many people enjoy the benefits of running. It is the “runner’s high” that experts believe is a direct result of endorphins. Other intense exercise suggestions include tennis, high-impact aerobics and workouts at the gym. You may even choose to be more adventurous and sign up for a martial arts class or take up rollerblading.

If the heavier stress on joints is not your cup of tea, walking is proven to be just as effective when performed regularly. Fit in 20 to 60 minutes daily or at least three to five times per week and you could be feeling better in no time. You can break up a daily half hour of walking into 10-minute increments when time is short.

PMS Symptoms and Calming Exercises

Simple breathing exercises can help calm the spirit and relax the body. While they may not elevate your heart rate, they are effective in circulating oxygen throughout the system. Many of these calming exercises are popular in yoga. Stress reduction and focusing on deep breathing will also take your mind off PMS symptoms for a few minutes.

“Belly breathing,” or taking breaths from the diaphragm rather than the chest, is an exercise you can perform anywhere. Watch television, sit at your desk or supervise the kids as they play. Take a deep breath and feel your lower abdomen expand. Hold it for a few seconds and expel slowly.

While you’re sitting and taking deep breaths, slowly raise your arms above your head, then lower them. This is also an excellent routine to practice while working at a desk. It gives you a short break and can help ease tension.

Low Impact Exercise Tips During PMS

When you’re suffering from PMS, exercise is one of the last things on your mind. If you’re active the rest of the month, consider changing up the routine. With a little creativity and drive, you’ll discover ways to keep up the pace even when cramping and headaches are at their worst. Keep in mind, though, that the more you maintain a regular routine, the less you’ll suffer. If you can find the will to continue a faster-paced set of exercises, you could easily find those aches and pains easier to handle. Exercises for PMS symptoms include:

  • Arms. Use light weights and make full-circle arm repetitions or side lifts, 10 on each side and then repeat. Stand with back bent at an angle and stretch arms backward, repeating in cycles of 10.
  • Front of thighs. In a sitting position, extend your legs and hold them straight for a count of 10. Lower and then continue with up to 10 repetitions.
  • Shoulders. Stand with back straight and roll the shoulders in circular motions, backward and then forward. Make 25 repetitions in each direction.
  • Stretching is a great tension reliever. While you should always limber up before exercising, this is a recommended way to keep joints working smoothly. With some types of stretching exercises, you can also perform a minor workout without hitting the trail or the gym.

Other low-impact activities include swimming, cycling and dancing. Even if you’re taking a spin around the house, you can enjoy the rewards from many types of beneficial exercise.

Overall Benefits of Exercise

As with any lifestyle change, you should always consult with a doctor before incorporating exercise into your daily routine. Once you have the go-ahead, begin slowly to build up stamina. In addition to reducing PMS symptoms, research shows that those who are faithfully active live longer and reduce the risk of a host of common illnesses and more serious diseases such as osteoporosis and cancer.

Even if you still suffer from PMS, with regular exercise, you’ll feel better about yourself. Self-confidence in the face of the many conditions that coincide with PMS is a tried and true survival skill for any woman.

Resources

Pms.com (n.d.). Simple Lifestyle Changes to Help Manage Your Premenstrual Symptoms. Retrieved July 30, 2007, from the pms.com Web site: http://www.pms.com/treating/lifestyle.pmsx.

Time-to-run.com (2001-2007). Does running help alleviate premenstrual syndrome symptoms? Retrieved July 30, 2007, from the Time-to-Run Web site: http://www.time-to-run.com/women/physiology/periods/alleviate.htm.

Womenshealth.com (2007). WHA Self-Care Plan. Retrieved July 30, 2007, from the Women’s Healthcare America, Inc. Web site: http://www.womenshealth.com/libraryarticle.jsp?id=833