Adapt your Fitness Plan to your Menstrual Cycle

 

PMS Fitness

If you are a fitness fan like me….then you will be very familiar with how PMS can make you feel when you are trying to exercise!
I tend to describe this feeling as “training in toffee”, where every movement feels like your whole body is stuck in a river of toffee, making any form of exercise exhausting and not that enjoyable!

The main reason for this sensation is the Hormone “Estrogen”, which tends to increase during the last two weeks of your Menstrual cycle and this rapid rise in the Hormone can make you feel sluggish, tired and lethargic… meaning you may feel more motivated to sit in front of the sofa rather than to attempt any kind of sit-up!

But there is a workaround!!…………….I suggest adapting your fitness plan to your Menstrual cycle, which will allow you to keep fit and energised throughout the whole month rather than just for the first two weeks.

Regular exercise has been proven in a number of studies to reduce stress levels, as when we exercise our Happy Hormone “Serotonin” increases and this Hormone controls areas such as our mood, social behavior and temperature regulation, which are all areas that need a positive boost during the last few days of our Menstrual cycle…

So by sticking to your fitness plan or even starting a new one, you can combat the emotional imbalances PMS causes and start a real energised step to reducing your PMS symptoms!

Below is an example of how you can plan your exercise for the whole month, picking high energy sports at the start and moving to more low impact options towards the end of the month:


Example Fitness Plan

Days 1-14 of a typical 28 day cycle
(Classed as the Follicular Phase of the Menstrual Cycle)
Plan to take part in exercises that include anything that is fast paced or intensive such as running, sprinting, interval/circuit training, martial arts or Zumba.

Days 15-28
(Classed as the Luteal Phase)
Plan to take part in exercises that include anything that is low impact for example yoga, a slow jog, swimming, cycling or dancing round your living room!


By adapting your fitness plan to your monthly cycle as suggested above, you will notice a reduction in your PMS symptoms, mainly because of all that Happy Hormone being produced…..but remember:

PMS requires ABM (Action Before Motivation)

So if you are suffering with PMS, really push yourself to start exercising! I guarantee, if you do and even if it’s just dancing around your living room, you will feel so much better and very glad that you did it!

Happy Training 🙂

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How am I feeling today?

PMS

So what does it really take to have a Happy Month? – To be honest it is as simple as starting a new habit!

To reduce your PMS symptoms it is vital for you to become aware of how you feel in the present moment.

As you know, we all have busy lives and we all get lost in our daily routines and habits, meaning hours can pass by which we have no recollection of when we try to think back about our day.

The best way to describe this state of mind is to compare it with a hypnotic state where we switch off our thoughts and memory and then let our unconscious minds take control.

But this state of mind can be very dangerous, especially during the PMS phase of the menstrual cycle, as it means that you can easily react negatively to a situation before you even realise it, all because the mind is following the “normal routine”.

So to reduce your PMS you need to break this unconscious routine and start a new habit!

Sounds relatively simple? Yes it is, but the unconscious mind is very stubborn and will try to take control back from you at any given moment…

So to combat this, I have found the below task to be incredibly successful but you do need to fully commit to the task and also become incredibly disciplined with it, so that it becomes your new daily habit.

The task – “Start a new routine”

So for this task, I first need you to go out and buy a new notebook or diary, which will become your personal PMS diary.

Once you have the notebook, I would like you to start a new page every day, first writing the date and secondly the following question:

How do I truly feel today?

For the answer to the question I would like you to look deep into your heart with honesty and write exactly how you feel underneath the question.

There is no right or wrong answer, it’s just about being totally honest with yourself and really noticing every emotion and feeling being experienced in the present moment.

Once you have your answer, please read it and think about what you need today to ensure you have a good day, for example:

Maybe you need to talk about how you are feeling to a loved one?

Maybe you need to reduce your workload for the day?

Maybe you need some time on your own to relax?

or maybe you just need a hug?

Whatever it is, I promise this task will help you to find out what you truly need today and will become one of the first steps in stopping your PMS for good!

PMS – Emotional Phases of the Menstrual cycle

PMS Phases

Above is a diagram representing the emotional phases experienced by many women during a typical menstrual cycle and below is a description of each of the phases above:

Overview of Phases

 Relief:

This phase is where you should start to experience relief from your PMS symptoms and starts as your period begins.

In the “Relief” phase emotions should become noticeably more balanced and the need for social/relationship interactions should start to increase.

Communication:

The “Communication” phase overlaps with the “Relief” and “Vitality” phases and tends to occur around 7 days after your period begins.

This phase is where you should feel more compassionate to others and generally feel more mindful of yourself and everyone close to you.

Vitality:

This phase is where you should notice a high level of energy, a real zest for life and the ability to take on any challenge or adventure.

Normality:

“Normality” is a phase where you should have full control of your emotional state but will start to be affected by the early signs of PMS and your energy levels may start fall.

PMS:

This phase is when your PMS symptoms will start to develop, you may start appearing distant and have noticeable emotional imbalances, your senses will be heightened which could lead to irritability and any other emotional symptom linked with PMS.

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Having an understanding of the emotional phases of the menstrual cycle is key to beating PMS!

PMS happens at a subconscious level, which means if you are not aware of your current or next “phase”, you will never stop PMS from occurring……

So take conscious control and watch PMS disappear – it can really be that simple!

New year resolutions to reduce your PMS Symptoms

So Christmas is over and New Years Eve will soon be upon us….. this means that it is the time of year when we all start to think about the things we would like to do or achieve in the new year.

So I thought I would list my top 10 resolutions needed to combat PMS:

  1. During the last 10 days of your menstrual cycle you may notice your energy levels dropping, which can lead to irritability and low moods…. So this year commit to adding additional whole grain carbohydrate foods into your shopping basket that can be used to help sustain your energy levels during this time e.g. Baked potato’s, nuts, bananas, wholewheat pasta and brown bread.
  2. Caffeine is known to increase anxiety and irritability, so combine this with PMS and it can be a dangerous combination… So this year commit to reducing your caffeine intake to a maximum of two cups of Coffee/Tea a day during the last 10 days of your menstrual cycle.
  3. Commit to positively changing your thought patterns e.g. “expect a happy month and you will”.
  4. Commit to talking honestly and openly to your partner, close family and friends about how you are feeling during the month.
  5. Commit to making time for yourself during the day, this could be in the form of meditation, reading, listening to music or any other enjoyable activity, even if it is just 10 minutes a day!
  6. Commit to providing yourself with compassion on those difficult days, remembering to talk to yourself as if you were talking to your best friend, providing yourself with words that comfort and support you.
  7. Having a bad day? is everyone annoying you? then commit to Journaling…
    Grab a note book, a pen and then just write…write down everything that is on your mind, ignore grammar and punctuation, just let your pen do the talking!….
    Once done, tear the paper up and throw in a bin, I guarantee any problems will reduce in size and you will feel mentally lighter.
    This technique is great for gaining insight into your current behaviors and moods.
  8. Commit to letting yourself relax during the last 10 days of your menstrual cycle without feeling guilty.
  9. Commit to adding a star to your wall or pocket calendar every month, indicating when you are expecting your PMS symptoms to start, this will allow you to be mindful of your thoughts and actions during this time and will also benefit the people you live with, as they will have a better understanding of whats happening.
  10. Of course number 10 could only be:
    Commit to following the Happy Month Blog, a sure-fire way to reduce / cure PMS for good!

I hope you find the above list of resolutions helpful…….but, remember, to achieve a goal takes more than just a decision, it requires constant small steps and commitment to achieve the desired result!

Happy New Year!

Chrissie
Happy Month.

Happy New Year

Common PMS Symptoms – What are yours?

PMS stands for (Premenstrual syndrome), but did you know that a syndrome is a collection of symptoms associated to a single cause which in this case is premenstration.

In addition, PMS is sometimes referred to as PMT (Premenstrual Tension) but this is actually incorrect as tension is one of the many symptoms associated with PMS.

PMS has over 100 recorded symptoms and they can be classified in the following way:

Physical
Psychological
Behavioural

Some common symptoms are listed below, but can you add to the list?

Physical
Headaches
Backache
Tiredness
Weight gain
Nausea


Psychological

Mood swings
Irritable
Anxiety
Decreased esteem
Difficulty in concentrating


Behavioural

Appetite change/food craving

Please add your comments to this post, it would be really great to hear about your experiences!

Help reduce PMS by talking about it – even to men!

A really simple technique to reduce your PMS symptoms is to talk openly about the topic with your loved ones and especially those that you live with.

This should be a really easy discussion, but as we know, from an early age it is instilled in us that PMS is a taboo subject, that we should hide all symptoms and never, ever mention the word “Period” in public!!

PMS is often used by the opposite sex as the reason why a female’s mood may be low, even if PMS has nothing to do with it….

Due to this way of thinking, tension is created within everyone who suffers from PMS or those who just have a period. This tension manifests as negative thought patterns associated to Periods and PMS which in time becomes a habitual way of thinking, causing stress to the subconscious mind every time you reach your 28th day.

To reduce this tension we need to remove the negative thoughts associated, such as:

–          I should be happy

–          Even if I did tell them, they would not take this condition seriously

–          It’s just a “women thing”

–          I should not moan about it

–          It’s embarrassing

–          No one must know that I am having my period!

and replace them with positive new ones….. one way of doing this is to talk openly with your loved ones.

Explained to them how PMS makes you feel, how you typically react and most importantly what you need from them when a symptom develops – this can make the world of difference because suddenly they understand, they know what you need and what they can do to make you feel better – remember they are your loved ones, they will support you – they just need to know how they can help!

So this month, make a positive step and start talking about PMS and Periods!

It’s important, so please do not hide it – share it 🙂

Carb up for PMS Happiness

During the last two weeks of your monthly cycle, energy levels may start to fall and you may start noticing your attention dropping but irritation building! 🙂

To combat this I have found that eating a form of carbohydrate every three hours really makes a difference to the way I feel…. the carb could be a sandwich, a handful of raisins or just a banana – by doing this my energy levels stay consistent and my mood stays happy.

So I would recommend planning for this every month, maybe add a note to your calendar to buy extra food in the week leading up to the 14th day, so that you don’t give PMS a chance to start due to lack of food.