Alisha (21-years-old) is a final year student of a management college in Pune. Every time during her menstruation cycle, Alisha faced some unbearable period cramps and pain. She consulted a gynecologist, and the doctor prescribed her some painkillers to subside her pain and cramps in her cycle. But Alisha wanted to control things naturally. While doing her final year project, she came to know from the internet about some exercises for period cramps that may reduce the pain and severity of her menstruation cycle. She joined a nearby fitness and yoga center where the trainer has specifically recommended some exercise to reduce period pain. Now, after performing exercises and various yoga poses for 6 months, Alisha experienced much lesser pain and cramps in her menstruation cycle.
Many girls and young women experience cramps during their menstruation cycles. Cramps feel like pain in the lower abdomen (belly), pelvis, lower back, and upper legs. The pain usually starts on the day before the period starts and continues till the first/second days of the period. If cramps are painful, they will certainly affect your daily activities. You can do stretching and low-intensity exercises to alleviate the pain caused by cramps.
During the first two days of your cycle, the bleeding and cramping are higher, thus, you may feel less energetic and fatigued in the morning. High-intensity workouts like running, jogging, etc. are not recommended during your period. You can practice moderate exercises to relieve cramps along with breathing exercises.
Let’s check out some of the exercises to relieve menstrual cramps
1. Low Back & Glute Stretch
The Benefit: The prime benefit of this exercise for period cramps is to release some of the tightness that may feel on your muscles due to menstrual cramping and bloating. To perform this posture, you need to open up your outer hips, ribs, abdominals, and back.
The Pose: First, make your left foot flat, and right foot directly back from the hip. Now, blend slightly from the front knee. Keep your left arm at shoulder height while the right arm should reach your overhead. Keep the hips to the right once you reach up and out with the right hand. Repeat this posture 6-8 times on both sides to assuage menstrual cramps.
2. Kneeling Abdominal Twist
The Benefit: You may feel tightness and fullness in your hip and pelvic area due to heavy bleeding and cramping in your menstruation cycle. Pelvic and hip opening stretches are beneficial to overcome this tightness and fullness.
The Pose: Kneel on the left leg with the right foot (externally rotated). Interlock the fingers at chest height, lift your elbows, and pull the fingers apart to occupy the back. Place your body weight into the right foot. Make a deeper bend in the right knee as you move the left elbow toward the left and twist. By engaging the glute, return to the center. Now, drive your right elbow back to square the shoulders forward. Repeat this pose 5-6 times on each side.
3. Shift Back Arm Rotation
The Benefit: Due to abdominal cramping, bloating, and pain, your ribs, and abdominals may feel constrained. This posture opens up those areas to enhance blood flow and lessens menstrual symptoms.
The Move: This 4-part posture particularly focuses on the middle spine and hips. For this, you need to shift your weight back toward the heels. Once finding a deeper hip hinge, you need to return to the center by engaging the glutes. Now, keep your right hand toward the ceiling and open up your chest toward the right. Now, return to the center and repeat the shift (use alternate arm and shift rotation).
4. Cobra Pose
To perform this exercise for period cramps, you need to lie on your stomach with your legs straight and feet together. Now, keep your hands under your shoulders. Push you using your hands and then, lift your head and shoulders. Breathe deeply and hold this position for 30 to 60 seconds. Now, back to your original posture. Fill your belly with air when you breathe. As you inhale, allow your belly to expand. Once exhaled, the belly moves in and softens. Breathe normally for 2 to 3 minutes and then repeat.
5. Cat/Cow Pose
First, get along with your hands and knees. Then, ensure your hands are kept directly under your shoulders, and your knees are placed under your hips. Take a deep breath in, and keep your belly toward the ground. This will gently stretch your head and bottom.
Take a normal breath 2 to 3 times. Inhale deeply if you want to change your position. Then breathe out and bend your back toward the sky. Now, stretch your head and bottom gently towards the ground. This position is called cat pose.
Breathe normally for 2 to 3 minutes. Slowly move back and forth between the two poses. Hold the position for 2 to 3 breaths.
6. Fish Pose
First, keep a pillow on the floor. Place your back and head on the pillow. Keep your legs straight on the floor in front of you. Now, put your arms easily at your sides and face up your palms. Hold this position and breathe gently. If you are feeling low back discomfort while straightening your legs, please bend the knees with feet flat on the floor.
The Bottom Line
Try moderate-intensity or low-intensity exercises like walking, jogging, or yoga exercises during the lighter days of the menstrual cycle. Yoga and other physical activities will lessen bloating and cramping. These exercises will improve your blood circulation and stimulate the release of “feel-good hormones” called endorphins. This will uplift your mood and soothe your pain and discomfort.