Sport and menstrual cycle

«When I was a teenager, it was my mother who told my coach that I didn't feel comfortable in the days of the cycle with swimming pool clothing. We have to speak, confront each other. Insert the menstruation factor in the training schemes, do not simply say take the pill». Word of Federica Pellegrini: the champion in fact has recently received a honorary degree, bringing a thesis on "the woman and the performance: how the menstrual cycle can influence the performance". A theme that you have said to be important, to generate information - often missing - that hinder sport in people who experience the experience of menstruation.

Unfortunately also in sport, which for the vast majority of people is part of their daily life, there is still a big taboo, regarding the training during the days of the menstrual cycle. Often many women tend to interrupt any physical and sporting activity during menstruation. In the premenstrual and menstrual period a series of symptoms and manifestations are revealed that prevent regular training, such as: weight gain, water retention, increase in uterine volume, heaviness, swelling and abdominal pain. The post-measty period is, however, an optimal phase for training and for better muscle performance. Another parameter that often discourages in the practice of a sporting activity is also given by the menstrual flow. People who have abundant flow tend even more to suspend physical activity than those who have a light flow. The abundance of menstrual flow is certainly a problem for those who practice lasting activities since iron deficiency, or the lowering of hemoglobin, negatively affects performance.

There is no contraindication to carry out physical activity during menstruation, even if it is still advisable to maintain a lower training intensity.
Now let's see how to better plan training based on the phases of the menstrual cycle.


To better organize their sporting commitments, an athlete, and in particular a agonist athlete, he must perfectly know the phases of the ovarian cycle, in order to know what are the periods in which it is advantageous to undergo a certain type of training, in harmony with the hormones that are produced. But this also applies to those who make sports at amateur level, to train more profitablely and without stress.

The phases of the cycle and training

To plan sports work, keep in mind that:

In the premenstrual and menstrual phase, characterized by the presence of estrogen and progesterone, it is good to devote yourself to a lighter training. In this period the body must also adapt to a series of changes such as weight gain and water retention. It is recommended to practice sports such as Yoga and Pilates, these disciplines, in addition to the body, take the well -being of the psyche in great account. Swimming is also recommended if you suffer from premenstrual syndrome as it increases the levels of serotonin and dopamine. The advice of experts is to avoid exercises with weights and workouts involving the abdominal lower part. Doing sports, therefore, not only reduces the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome but also helps to prevent the pains of the cycle that is about to arrive;

In the post -menstrual phase, characterized by the FSH hormone, or stimulating follicle hormone, there is a significant increase in the capacity of concentration and coordination: it is time to make a training where these particular skills are required, thanks also to the best muscle performance. For this reason, more or less intense activities are recommended such as Workout in the weight room.

Below is an in -depth analysis on what are the best physical activities to be carried out during the phases of the menstrual cycle:

The best rule to carry out proper physical activity during the menstrual cycle is to listen to your body. Generally during the first day of the cycle we feel with less energies, therefore it is advisable to perform a less intense session and perhaps reduce the duration of training. If our body is used to training 4-5 days a week there is no reason not to continue on the days of the menstrual cycle. The only important thing is to observe the signals of your body, remember to drink a lot to hydrate, integrate in the food rich foods in iron and vitamins such as green leafy vegetables, legumes, dried fruit and remind you that it is scientifically proven that doing activities helps to relieve menstrual pain. During physical activity, endorphins increase, also called "hormones of happiness": a sort of natural anesthetic that our brain produces and which is therefore particularly useful for counteracting some disorders related to the menstrual cycle, such as abdominal pain, headache And "Menstral Blues", a more poetic way to underline the melancholy of premenstrual syndrome. Furthermore, it is demonstrated that moderate physical activity: it decreases the retention of liquids, develops greater tolerance and resistance to pain, helps to reduce symptoms in the premenstrual period e menstrual; proves to be useful for contrasting anxiety and other psychological disorders - thanks to the typical social component of sport - and helps to decrease stress.

In conclusion, there are no standard rules, but we are free to manage training during the menstrual cycle as we feel more comfortable, supporting our psyche and our body.

 «To feel really good in the water and being more serene it was essential for me to understand that my body had to follow its spontaneous rhythm. [...] The new generation technicians should become familiar with the topic because the girls want to talk about it. Then for the scientific parameters doctors are needed, competent people who help you enhance what in those dates works as always, resistance for example».  

Therefore, the time has come to open a new conversation linked to menstruation: the one linked to sport and in particular to solidism, to break down the stigma and shame with which we were* brought* to live it. Thanks also to Federica Pellegrini who with her testimony has brought attention to a theme that cares about many professional athletes and women like her.


Simona Danos


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