“Women should not play sport during that time of the month” and other myths
As mentioned above, one of the reasons why the gender gap in sports increases at puberty is because it is widely believed that girls and women should avoid practising physical activity while they menstruate. Interestingly, there is no scientific evidence about the negative impact of sports on menstruating women. However, there is evidence of the benefits.
Indeed, exercising increases the production of endorphins (the famous “feel-good hormones”) and helps reduce anxiety, depression, and pain. Physical activity during your period can therefore help with fatigue, pain, cramps, mood swings, bloating, and all the nice “period package”.
So, what are the best exercises to do during your period? Are there any to avoid? Here are a few suggestions:
Examples of exercises that are particularly beneficial during your period:
On the other side, our body is going through a lot during our period, so it is important to avoid overstressing it with intense exercises.
Of course, we do not all experience periods the same way, and this article is in no way attempting to dictate to menstruators what to do or not to do. We are just trying to raise awareness and debunk taboos, to help us improve our menstrual experience. The key message here is: listen to your body, and if you feel like playing sports during your period: go ahead!
Stay tuned! In the next blog article, we’d like to pursue the conversation about periods and sports, focusing on the following topic: the impact of the menstrual cycle on female athletes’ performance, the last taboo in sports.
- Bruinvels, G., et al. Sport, Exercise and the Menstrual Cycle: Where Is the Research? 2016. https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1502923/
- “Attitudes towards women’s sports, sportswomen and women in India” BBC (2020)
- “Gender equality in sport: Getting closer every day”. EPRS | European Parliamentary Research Service (2019) https://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/BRIE/2019/635560/EPRS_BRI(2019)635560_EN.pdf
- “Exercising During Your Period: Benefits and Things to Avoid” Flo, https://flo.health/menstrual-cycle/lifestyle/fitness-and-exercise/exercising-during-period
- “2022 highest paid athletes”, Forbes https://www.forbes.com/athletes/
- “Women’s football: ‘I’m a pro footballer but I have a second job’”, BBC article https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-suffolk-62386612