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Don't Let Your Periods Control You

Categories: Exercise, Health
Tags: injury, Period

In recent years periods have become less of a taboo subject as media coverage has started to increase with top athletes talking about their periods and more research being done into the physical and mental effects on periods, hormones and exercise.

Leah Williamson Lioness’s Captain opened up on how endometriosis affects her performance and the pain she could be suffering.

Kit manufacturers are now taking into consideration the colour of the shorts and leak protection going into the design of female kits.

Dina Asher Smith talked about how she was on her period and caused her calf to cramp during the 100m final of the European Championships, shattering her hopes of a gold medal.

It’s no wonder performance can vary so much during a month when oestrogen and progesterone hormones are released at different levels sometimes causing havoc on the body.

During the second half the cycle when premenstrual symptoms general start can be when the dip in performance is noticed, partly due to low mood, anxiety, feeling bloated, tiredness and being irritable. Oestrogen levels are at their lowest during the last phase of the cycle this can be the most detrimental and hamper performance levels.

If you’re a regular runner and suffer from painful periods exercise usually can help with painful periods, however if you’re an elite performance runner you may not get your personal best. Once your period has finished, you’ll find energy levels become back to normal as oestrogen levels increase again.

Of course everybody is different and it is important to track your own cycle and performance levels to start noticing patterns that form during the various phases.

Once you can spot when you feel your strongest weeks are going to be you can harness this to lift heavier and train harder. On the days you’re feeling more tired you know to rest and take advantage of that, rather than struggle with an unproductive training session.

To minimise the impact your period has on your training as well as tracking your period, have a healthy balanced diet (avoid the sugar cravings the best you can), take painkillers if you need to and evening primrose oil to reduce PMS symptoms.

What have you found works best for you?