Don’t let your Menstrual Cycle hold you back.
Make Your Cycle Your Super Power
Top 10 Tips
- Regular, manageable periods are a GOOD thing. The menstrual cycle is a window to our overall health, including our brain, heart, bone & immune health – not just our reproductive system. A regular period is a sign that your body is doing what it should & something we should discuss positively. But, you should seek help and guidance from a healthcare professional if periods haven’t started by age 16, periods are very heavy, painful or unmanageable, or there is a change or loss of periods once they’ve started.
- When it comes to your menstrual cycle, get to understand what is normal for you by keeping a simple monthly tracker that records the dates of your period, how heavy your flow is and any noticeable symptoms throughout the month. This can help you spot any patterns, notice any changes, anticipate your symptoms and plan strategies to help. Your cycle shouldn’t hold you back and this awareness can help you make your period your superpower.
- Physical activity is a great way to reduce period pain! Research has also shown that women who exercise regularly have fewer premenstrual symptoms. All movement is great movement, so work with your body to find a way of moving during your period that helps boost those natural mood-elevating & pain killing chemicals (endorphins). Equally, if you want to learn more about how the menstrual cycle can impact athletic performance & training, take a look at this short video from the English Institute of Sport (now UK Sports Institute).
- Diet, lifestyle, stress & exercise can all have an impact on the menstrual cycle. Whilst we’re all different, sugar, dairy, caffeine & alcohol can make symptoms worse.
- A loss of periods can be caused when we aren’t taking on enough calories to meet our energy needs & this is the body’s way of raising the alarm. The female body is utterly amazing and powerful, but to be at our best & set the foundations for good physical & emotional health, we must be full of good fuel and energy. Skipping meals, eating tiny portions & cutting out or severely restricting specific food groups, doesn’t set us up to feel or function as our best, healthy selves.
- If tampons or moon cups aren’t for you, period pants (including period swimwear) are a fantastic alternative that can hold around 2-4 tampons worth of blood. You can find them on the high street, from M&S through to Primark, as well as specialist suppliers such as Modibidi or Wuka.
- Breast tenderness or pain is a common premenstrual symptom. A well-fitted and supportive sports bra can almost always reduce breast pain & make us more comfortable & confident to be physically active throughout our cycle.
- It’s impossible to recommend a best bra, because we are all so different. However, follow this link to discover 5 top tips for a well-fitted sports bra. And remember, try before you buy. Jump up and down and side-to-side in the changing rooms to check whether it offers the support you need
- If you are a teacher, coach, team manager, session leader – in fact anyone working with people who menstruate – consider providing Caught Short Kits. These are emergency supplies of period products, that can be easily accessed by anyone who needs them to help manage their period. Make sure they are kept in an accessible place (ideally the toilets) & there is a ‘help yourself / no need to ask first’ approach. We know that fear of period leakage is a barrier to being active & caught short kits are a simple way of helping to reduce anxiety & promote both comfort & confidence.
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