Five exercises you should be doing during your period

Chinese swimmer Fu Yuanhui’s name was frequently in the news during the recent Rio Olympics, but not for her outstanding performance in the 4x100 relay medley. Instead, the 20-year-old received a virtual standing ovation when she told CCTV news her period had started the night before, leaving her feeling weak, and unable to swim as quickly as she had hoped.

While not the first to mention her period in post-competition reflection, Yuanhu’s frank admission does shrug off any taboos regarding period-talk and raises the question: what exactly are the best exercises to do when you’re surfing the crimson wave?

Staying regularly active is one of the best antidotes to PMS and period-related complaints, but if you’re in pain or too tired, taking a break from working out to relax and maybe watch a season (or two) on Netflix is ok too.

Click through the gallery below to see five physical activities you should be doing during your period, and let us know what you think by tweeting @YahooStyleCA.

Walking

A good, old-fashioned stroll through your neighbourhood or nearby park is an easy and low-impact way to raise your heart beat during your period.  A 2015 study suggests that women’s lung capacity decreases during the menstrual cycle, so any high-intensity activity or one involving endurance and stamina is not ideal (so, maybe not a competitive race).

Yoga

Forego the handstand or any sort of pose that requires heavy breathing or abdominal twisting, in favour of something gentle and slow. If you’re having cramps, try this video to alleviate any pain.

Swimming

Despite Yuanhui’s comments (and obvious post-race pain), swimming is a great, low-impact exercise during that time of the month. Not only is it easy on the muscles, but it also releases calming endorphins, which are always welcome when those mood swings hit.

Though some may be squeamish to swim while menstruating, Dr. Jen Gunter of the American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecology told People that contrary to pesky rumours floating around, water does not flush out period blood and the myth that period blood contaminates pools is unfounded. This comes after a public pool in Tbilisi, Georgia posted a controversial sign forbidding menstruating women to swim.

Cycling

Not a lot of sports replace usual time spent sedentary, like commuting to work via car or public transportation, which makes cycling one of the easiest activities to incorporate into your daily routine. Enjoying a new route or cruising down that hill can also be a mood-booster – handy during those hormonal shifts.

Sex

Yes, it is considered exercise and yes, it can be messy, but a quick romp can burn up to 200 calories in half an hour.