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Here’s How Your Monthly Cycle Affects Your Workouts

The day when you get your period is always a sad one, no matter how old you are.

The mix of mood swings, fatigue and physical discomfort, atop of everyday stress, is enough to drive anyone crazy. For some, period cramps are so intense that it becomes hard to function properly, influencing their habits, work life, and fitness.

Still, no matter how awful your cramps are, you should try to find a solution by either visiting the doctor or  scheduling your activities and workouts tactically in order to avoid the worse days of your period. You’ll most likely have to live with it until your 50’s, so try to make your peace with it.

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Lifehacker spoke with some fitness experts and OBGYNs who explained that by being informed about the changes occurring in your body, you can adapt your workouts in order to get some relief that won’t exhaust you.

This information shouldn’t be too surprising if you’ve lived with your period for a couple of years, and have learned the hard way that your cycle is, well, circular.

The first week of your period is the most intense one, when people feel more groggy and sapped out of energy. The first day has your hormones dropping rapidly and your body beginning to secrete prostaglandin, a substance that makes your uterus contract and shed your uterus lining. According to ob-gyn Heather Bartos, it’s common for the first days of your period to feel fatigue, cramps, headaches, bloating and all of that fun stuff.

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While these are the days where it’s the least enticing to work out, it’s also the period of time where you’ll reap the most benefits if you do. If your period tend to be intense and painful, try to exchange your traditional workout for something light, like a yoga or a pilates class. Don’t overwork it.

After these first couple of days, you’re out of the woods. Your body will enter the follicular phase, where your hormones and your mood begins to rise, making you feel great. By this time you should almost be done with your period, and it’s the right moment to amp up your workout and to sign up for that fitness class you’ve been to scared to go to. It’s almost time for your period again so invest your time wisely.

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