Activity and Diversity
Sonia wants to make physical activity accessible for everyone.
Date: 6 July 2022 Author: Energise Me
Emma shares how she found ways to stay active while on her period. Now, she's encouraging other women to find out what movement suits them during their time of the month.
I’ve always suffered from bad period symptoms. As a teenager, I would regularly throw up from the pain it caused. Everybody treated this as though it was normal, and eventually, I did too. Through much of my twenties, I was able to manage the pain by taking birth control pills. However, these had other side effects for me, so I knew I didn’t want to take them forever.
People often said, “do some exercise, it will help.” But when your entire body hurts, and you feel sick, the last thing you want to do is move!
It wasn’t until I was in my thirties that I learnt I had endometriosis. I’m lucky, mine isn’t that bad – a lot of women have much more severe pain than I. Ultimately, I had an operation which helped a bit and I found some ways of managing my period pain.
The word ‘exercise’ isn’t as scary; I know now it can mean “going for a walk” or “5 minutes stretching”. It isn’t just running or going to the gym.
Generally, I became more active which has definitely helped. The word ‘exercise’ isn’t as scary; I know now it can mean “going for a walk” or “5 minutes stretching”. It isn’t just running or going to the gym. When I know my period is due, I make sure to do some gentle yoga. I like SarahBethYoga’s 15-minute Yoga Routine, but there’s loads of other videos on YouTube. And as you get to know your body, you can practice the poses that work for you. You can even do just half an hour of Shavasana (Corpse Pose) if you like! Also, I try to get out for a short walk. I live near a park, so I ask my daughter if she wants to go, and I know she will hold me to it!
Another big factor for me was finding period products that work. In my younger years, I just used tampons as they were convenient. I didn’t know about reusable products. While now I find that a combination of period pants and a menstrual cup are the best options. The pants are super comfy, so when the pain is bad, they are the best choice for me. And the cup means I can go swimming, confidently, or move around knowing I won’t leak. Plus, it feels like I’m doing my bit to reduce landfill.
You have to make the choice that is best for your body.
I know these types of products aren’t for everyone – you have to make the choice that is best for your body. But I would encourage women to experiment a bit. Try different makes of pads, or different brands of cup, until you find the right fit for you. It can get quite expensive, but there are places and charities that provide period products for those on low incomes. For example, freedom 4 girls and Bloody Good Period. Or if you are crafty, there are lots of tutorials on how to sew your own reusable pads.
If you can, try to stretch or move a bit more, it can really help with the pain. And if you have endometriosis or alike, know that you’re not alone. There are even support groups in Hampshire, and online.
Jenny shares how she rebuilt her relationship with exercise.