Young woman doing tummy crunchesMenstruation is a biological process controlled by your body’s production and regulation of multiple hormones. Exercising places physical demands on your body that can affect your hormone levels and menstrual cycle in different ways.

Working out may also help during your monthly periods. If you suffer from bloating or gut-wrenching cramps (dysmenorrhea) — even though you may not feel up to your normal workout — walking, swimming, or doing another type of light exercise like yoga will improve circulation to relieve painful cramps and ease digestive distress. Moderate physical activity may actually improve various severe side effects of menstruation including uterine cramping, vomiting, nausea and back pain that occur in approximately 50 percent of women,

Research shows that menstruating females who are doing moderate exercises on a regular basis usually have less extreme and shorter cycles. Simply put, regular exercising will lead to regular menstruation. You can get relief from cramps if you are doing stretching exercises, cardiovascular activities and resistance training during your menstrual cycle.

Unfortunately, exercise can also have a negative effect on your period. Over exercising (overtraining) may put too much stress on the body to produce the regularity of hormones it needs to complete a cycle. Exercising is draining on your body.

Too much exercise can put excessive amount of stress on your body to produce the regular hormones that is needed to complete a menstrual cycle. Menstruation is important because it is connected to reproduction. When you exercise, your body will go in a survival mode and might shut down unnecessary functions such as menstruation to help save energy and keep your body going in its current condition. Your body will actually hold unto every ounce of energy that it can to allow the vital functions to perform properly.

Nature has a way of protecting you from getting pregnant if your body is under such extreme stress. Your body prevents ovulation so you don’t have a lot of estrogen, don’t build a big uterine lining, and then don’t get a period.

The good news is that usually when you begin cutting down on the exercise and your body gets the nutrition and calories it needs, your periods should come back. Likewise, if your body fat percentage is much higher than the normal level for your height, periods can also stop.

If you miss your period for more than 6 months, please go see your gynecologist because it could affect your fertility and bone loss.

Train hard, but train smart. If your body is telling you something, listen to it!