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Is it safe to workout during your period?

Is it safe to workout during your period?

Experts say exercising during periods is safe, provided there are no underlying health conditions
Experts opine that it is safe to exercise during periods if there are no underlying health conditions
Photo by Anantha Subramanyam K/Happiest Health

When Adira, a 25-year-old animator from Kerala had her first period at 13, a lot changed. She faced a deluge of unsolicited advice from well-meaning relatives. Adira, who took karate lessons, was forbidden from attending classes and exercising during periods. The myth about working out on your period tops the list of several myths associated with one’s menstrual cycle.

“I was told by the women in my family that exercise during periods will weaken my uterus and cause it to slip down. This fear was so deep-seated among them that they would observe complete rest and stay put in their rooms,” she says.

“I was not amused by the new diktats imposed upon me, but had no choice but to comply,” she laments.

For many of us, working out during periods is a big no-no. Is there any truth to this commonly held belief ? Happiest Health explores.

Working out during periods: safe or not?

Contrary to popular belief, working out during periods isn’t as bad as you think.

“If you have no underlying health conditions and do not experience heavy periods, it is completely safe to exercise during periods,” says Dr Sandhya Rani, senior consultant, obstetrics & gynaecology, Aster Women & Children Hospital, Bengaluru.

“Heavy periods can cause conditions like iron deficiency anaemia. Working out during periods for those with anemia can further increase the blood flow and cause exhaustion and dizziness,” says Dr Sandhya.

Conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome (which are cysts in ovaries), fibroids (which are muscular tumours on the uterine wall) and endometriosis (tissues similar to the uterine lining grows outside the uterus) can cause heavy periods.

Busting the period myth

“It is a myth that your uterus is weak and will slip down if you workout during periods,” says Dr Sandhya.

However, she points out that if someone has just had a vaginal delivery, the muscles and ligaments that support the uterus become weak.

She advises going easy on exercise for the first six weeks post-delivery and gradually increase the intensity once the ligaments regain strength.

Shedding light on increased menstrual flow during a workout, Dr Sandhya says, “It is nothing worrisome. Instead of coming out gradually, your period blood may exit the uterus faster while working out.”

Does exercise improve period cramps?

A 2018 study published in Journal of Education and Health Promotion found that regular aerobic exercise can reduce the severity and duration of primary dysmenorrhea (menstrual cramps) by improving blood flow and promoting relaxation.

Dr Sandhya agrees that regular exercise can translate into reduced menstrual cramps and bloating.

According to Dr Anita Gupta, associate director, obstetrics & gynaecology, Fortis La Femme, Delhi, exercise releases endorphins (feel-good hormones) which ease psychological symptoms like mood swings and stress.

Exercises during periods

While Dr Gupta advices to continue with your regular exercise routine during periods, she throws a word of caution about engaging in high-intensity exercises like weight training.

“If you are experiencing pain, dehydration or fatigue, mild to moderate exercises like walking and light jogging will suffice,” she says.

Many yoga postures are proven to reduce pain and restore hormonal balance.

Shedding light on some people missing periods after exercising, Dr Sandhya says, “Intense exercise along with diet changes for quick weight loss can cause stress to the body, advancing or delaying periods.”

She also adds that missing a period after starting a new exercise routine is not a cause of worry, and notes that combining exercise with a balanced diet is paramount.

“Consulting a doctor and ruling out medical conditions is important before beginning an exercise routine,” adds Dr Sandhya.

Choosing the right period product

It is important to use the right period product while you are exercising.

Wearing a sanitary pad can be restrictive as the pad may not stay intact and can bunch up, forcing you to rush to the loo mid-exercise.

“We also tend to sweat more during exercise. The pad coming in contact with blood and sweat can increase the chances of rashes and infections,” says Dr Sandhya.

Dr Sandhya opines that menstrual cups are a safe bet when it comes to working out during periods.


  • It is a myth that working out on your period is harmful.
  • If you have heavy bleeding or anemia, high-intensity exercise isn’t advised.
  • Exercising during period is proven to reduce cramps and bloating.
  • Using the right period product is important while working out.

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