Your period cramps might make you want to curl up into a ball and die. But instead of huddling up on the couch, you should be extra active during that time of the month. Exercise helps release beta-endorphins (natural morphine) and burns off prostaglandins, the chemicals that cause your menstrual contractions. Next time it's your time, try these simple moves to relieve your PMS and painful cramps.
Yoga Moves for your Menses
Yoga is an effective way to ease your period cramps. Not only does it get you moving and get the blood flowing to and from your pelvic region, but yoga also encourages deep, mindful breathing. This will calm anxieties and take your mind off your PMS. Stand straight and inhale, bringing your arms above your head, then let out a big exhale and come into your forward bend. Hold for one minute, breathing deeply, and feel your lower back pain ease as you do so.
Half Bound Squat
If you suffer from hip pain during menstruation, try this pose, which is great for stretching out and opening the hips. With your feet hips' distance apart, bend your knees and lower your hips. Press your elbows into the inner part of your thighs, taking five deep breaths. Then bring your left arm between your knees, lower your left shoulder and reach your left arm towards your lower back, grabbing your right wrist. Hold this position for another five breaths.
Stretch out your groin and open up your abdomen (as well as your heart chakra) with a deep, engaging camel pose. Comfortably resting on your knees, lean backward, opening up your chest and throat, and rest your hands on the back of your heels. Hold this pose for 30 to 60 seconds, breathing deeply throughout.
Ideal for relieving lower lower back pain, child's pose will have you stretch out and calm down in a highly meditative, relaxing fashion. Your "safe haven" throughout your yoga practice, this position will ease tension and stretch out your lower back while giving you a great opportunity to focus on your breathing.
Activities to Distract from PMS
Going for a jog can help ease your menstrual pain and other PMS symptoms immediately. Whether outdoors with fresh air or inside on the treadmill, get your heart rate up and get your blood flowing to burn off those menstrual pain–causing chemicals.
Swimming is a great low-impact exercise and can be the perfect soothing activity to take your mind off your PMS and reduce your menstrual pain. Particularly if the water is warm, a few laps in the pool will raise your heart rate, causing a release of endorphins, and relieve your menstrual cramps and sore back and hips.
Get up and get active. While we may have no choice but to have a "time of the month", we certainly don't have to be any less fabulous because of it. Sweat it out and enjoy your most active period ever.
Photos: Nenad Aksic / Shutterstock, fizkes / Shutterstock, fizkes / Shutterstock, Jacob Lund / Shutterstock