Swimming and menstrual cycle

How many times have menstruation has made any daily action more difficult, from studying, to cooking or simply to carrying out a job?

Think about how much this difficulty can expand when our body, in addition to trying to face the pains related to the menstrual cycle, must carry out a sporting activity. And what to say, moreover, if that activity takes place in the water, making it even more uncomfortable - and sometimes even complicated! - The way to train or carry out a race?

In my little one, having swimming at a high competitive level for over twenty years, I can tell my personal experience with menstruation, with everything that positive and negative have led to.

In fact, the menstrual cycle has always had to deal with my competitive career: the first menstruation came to me during a collegiate outside home, at the age of thirteen, without having the faintest idea of ​​what to do and without understanding why everyone The companions and coaches continued to tell me "congratulations!". After all, my belly hurt and I couldn't train, what should I celebrate?

I just couldn't understand it. From that day a path started that taught me a lot and of which perhaps there is too little, since so many athletes united that they find themselves having to manage and face the same difficulties.

The cycle, in fact, greatly influences sporting performance, especially in the year of development: the body changes, hormones increase and inevitably - at least in swimming - there is that "leap" of quality in which you can even improve seconds, too If we are often justified with a simple "Ah, yes, he certainly developed!". At the same time, however, nobody talks about the other side of the medal: the stomach ache, the often abundant flow to have to manage in the water, the headaches, the internal absorbents to be used under the costmona so as not to get dirty waiting to compete , the forces that fail on that morning of that important race, which will qualify for the national one that you have waited so much and for which you have been training for months, if not years.

Then try to manage your cycle, perhaps with an birth control pill that can regularize it making the arrival of menstruation more predictable and hoping that it does not match with one race or another. But even in that case, with the pill not all the bodies react in the same way and it may happen that water retention takes over, and those two or three more kilos are felt, especially when you fight to improve even a few tenths.

In short, a real disgust!

Each body is different, each person reacts in a different way and being able to find a balance that allows each athlete to give the best always putting his health and mental health in the first place - it is never easy. What would need and on which I believe there is still a long way to go is
Being able to adapt its sporting preparation to the various phases of the cycle, deepening more the impact that it can have on performance and not hiding a bad workout behind a simple and obvious "Today does not want to do anything".

At the same time, however, the topic of menstruation should be normalized, which unfortunately are often a taboo and teaching the girls who will be young women not to consider it an invalidating period, but try to normally behave always by listening to their body to understand this of you need.
However difficult it is to be able to organize training of dozens of people - with as many different menstrual cycles -, a little awareness on what each phase can involve and what could help us at one time or another - that it is Food, muscle relaxation exercises, possibility of efforts or not - in my opinion it could make the difference.

As often happens, it would be enough to have improvements and, as in all the areas of life, it would only be necessary to talk more about it and be aware of it. The body is a perfect machine and for its optimal functioning it is important to know in depth every aspect that composes it, without the fear and fear of dealing in a different way - and therefore also unique, like each of us is - the whole period.

Teresa Strickner

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