Whether you’ve got a big game coming up, tryouts are right around the corner, or you just really want to kick butt at that kick-boxing class, you might be wondering: Can I still play sports when I’m on my period? The short answer is, of course you can.
Your period isn’t your opponent. Exercising, working out, and playing sports are all fair game when you’re on your period. It may even come with a few points in your favor. Read on to learn more about why it’s a menstruation myth and the surprising benefits of exercising on your period.
Whether you're engaging in light exercise or high intensity interval training, working out during your period is healthy and can help with your physical and emotional period symptoms. Be prepared by eating well, drinking lots and choosing period protection that makes you feel your comfiest.
Try out our Period-Proof Activewear or pair your preferred protection with Leakproof Period Underwear so you can focus on the game, not your period. Plus, did you know we make Leakproof Sport Swimsuits?
Want to know more? Read on.
Can I play sports while I’m on my period?
A lot of menstruators notice that their blood flow tends to get heavy when they’re out there on the field or doing some light cardio. This isn’t because the flow is increasing, it’s because the physical activity is shaking up your body and causing blood to exit the uterus faster.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t exercise, it just means you have to do a little extra prep work. Either start with a fresh pad or tampon before the workout routine begins, or make sure you’re wearing a pair of Super Leakproof Period Underwear to help absorb the flow. If you’re concerned about leakage while you're exercising during your period, simply double up your protection. For example, pairing a tampon or menstrual cup with Period Underwear pretty much guarantees a leak-free game.
Is it bad to play sports or exercise while you’re on your period?
Absolutely not. The golden rule with all physical activity, period or not, is to listen to your body. If you are feeling fatigued, stop. If you are pushing too hard, lessen the intensity, take a break, or try again tomorrow. What’s important is to respect your body’s boundaries and limitations with every workout, game, or practice.
While your period itself shouldn’t stop you from going for the gold, be conscious of what your body is telling you and when you need to slow down. With that being said, being active on your period actually comes with some perks.
The Benefits of Exercising While on Your Period
Exercise helps with physical period symptoms
You may feel like all you wanna do is curl up in bed with a Costco-sized bag of M&M’s (which is totally fine) but exercising reduces inflammation while increasing blood flow and the endorphins in your body.
Endorphins are brain chemicals that interact with the receptors in your brain to reduce the feeling of pain. Think of it like your body’s natural Tylenol. Exercise—whether it's strength training or high intensity workouts—signals your brain to release those natural painkillers, reducing period-related aches, pains, and cramps.
Exercise helps with emotional period symptoms
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is the culprit behind the mood swings you feel during your period. Not only do endorphins help alleviate pain, they’re also natural mood-boosters. When you exercise, it releases happy brain chemicals, which help reduce stress and anxiety while improving your mood. Healthy body, healthy mind. :)
5 Tips for Exercising on Your Period
The first step is to be prepared. Here are some things to keep in mind:
Sweet and salty snacks are tempting on a good day, but on your period they become even more irresistible. While there’s nothing wrong with a little treat, it’s best to avoid eating/drinking anything with lots of sugar, caffeine, or salt before exercising on your period. This is the most annoying advice ever, but it’s based in science. Sugar, caffeine, and salt all cause inflammation in the body which can make you feel sluggish and gross. (However, your body also uses sugar to create serotonin, a chemical which makes you happy, so don’t deprive yourself too hard.) Instead, fuel your body with some of the best foods to eat while on your period, like salmon, lentils, and berries.
Water is life—we literally need it to live. When you’re menstruating, staying hydrated is especially important. Dehydration lowers your blood pressure which can make you feel tired or lethargic. When you’re ready to crush it on the court, drink plenty of water to help you stay more alert and on point (so you can score more points). Staying hydrated also helps reduce bloating and cramps. Score.
Get the right gear
When it comes to finding the right period protection for exercising, our rule of thumb is simple: wear what makes you feel comfortable. Can you workout with a tampon in or a menstrual cup? Of course you can. It’s up to you.
There are a ton of options out there, and if you want to learn more, read our post on how to choose the best period products for you. There are menstrual cups, tampons, disposable pads, Reusable Pads, Period Underwear, Leakproof Activewear, and even Period Swimwear to help you feel confident while swimming on your period. There are also Period Sets so you can be prepared for the different stages of your cycle!
Listen to your body
Whether you're doing some gentle stretching, or working on yoga poses to get a very strong core, always remember to pay attention to how your body is feeling and only do what feels good. If you're in pain, feeling crampy, or your muscles are tiring out, take a break. Don't add more pressure to your body, especially while you're menstruating—it's already going through enough!
Have a backup
If you have a heavier flow on the day of a big swim meet, we recommend wearing tampons or a menstrual cup with Period Swimwear as a backup. If you’re hitting the court or field, our Period-Proof Leggings and Shorts can hold up to 6 tampons or pads worth of blood, so you can feel confident wearing them all on their own or as backup if you prefer. If you're a dancer or a gymnast, you may also be interested in our Leakproof Leotards and Tights.
If you prefer wearing a tampon or menstrual cup but want to feel extra safe, pair it with your favorite style of Leakproof Undies.
So go out and win that trophy, try a new sport, or enjoy that aerobic exercise. However you choose to move, your period won’t be stopping you any time soon.