As menstruating people, we have experienced through all the period stigmas and whether or not you should exercise on your period is one of them. Basically the simple answer is - exercise if you feel like exercising and don’t exercise if you don’t! It seems simple right? Nobody should have control over what you do with your body at any given time and particularly so when you are in your sacred time.
We believe that the societal norm of having to exercise when your not feeling your best (who remembers having to make up excuses other than the truth, to get out of high school PE? I remember telling my PE teacher I had diarrhoea because that was less whakamā (shameful) than having my period - what the???
Having said that, there are a whole bunch of benefits associated with exercising (the way you want to) while on your period that we thought were too cool not to share.
Regular exercise could lighten your flow!
The key here is that if the exercise is indeed regular, long term and non strenuous, then it can actually lighten your flow and lessen the amount of days you bleed. Our CFO and co founder Kylie Matthews noticed that her period went from heavy to medium after 1 year of regular exercise and she was able to on some days only wear 1-2 pairs of AWWA period proof underwear.
The first few days, when your period is usually the heaviest is generally not the time you feel like doing a high intensity work out, but if that's part of your regular routine, then it could pay off to go anyway. Estrogen is decreased when body fat is decreased, and estrogen stimulates growth of the uterus lining [that you shed when you have your period]. So regular exercise (plus a healthy diet) can mean less body fat, which means less estrogen and a lighter menstrual flow.
Exercising while wearing AWWA - life changing!
Unlike other period products that can bunch up or come out, you wear AWWA just like your ordinary underwear, so working out feels no different to how you would normally work out on a non period day - how awesome and slightly next level is that? You stay completely dry, you do not feel your period, and best of all no leaks!
May reduce PMS symptoms and lighten your mood
Don’t get us wrong, even getting your butt to the gym while on your period, gets your A+++ points but did you know that a quick high Intensity work out can actually release endorphins or feel good hormones.
Cardio is better than strength training as well if your goal is to alleviate PMS symptoms during your period.
Reduces period pain
These same release of endorphins are responsible for relieving pain and get rid of prostaglandin, which are chemicals that are produced during menstruation (or when we are injured) that can cause inflammation, muscle contractions, pain and fever so the more endorphins that are released, the less pain you will have.
Another reason to go for high intensity work outs over yoga? Sex hormones . Progesterone and estrogen levels are actually at their lowest point during menstruation, and that means your body is able to access carbohydrates and glycogen more easily than they can when estrogen is at an all-time high (the middle of your cycle). That means the fuel your body needs to power through an intense set is more readily available, and you can push harder to get the most out of short bursts of fast-paced movements.
At the end of the day, the most important thing is to listen to your body and don’t push or pressure yourself to get to the gym every day during your period. Rest days and yoga stretching is equally important. In fact our Tupuna would often take time out to rest during their ikura and instead exercise their minds by learning waita, karakia, whakaapa.
Our favourite way to exercise and reconnect with ourselves is to get into the ngāhere (bush) and go for a nice walk. We are also excited as a team to join the EMPOWHER 6 week ladies beginner boxing and kickboxing programme lead by 2 incredible female fighters Mia and Pax. We have a 25% discount code for all wāhine - simply add ‘AWWAxPE” at check out and come and join us!