Pilate is a low impact exercise that involves gentle stretches and deep breaths to improve balance and strength. Women consistently ask if they can do Pilates when they are having their periods. A quick answer is “Yes”. Maybe not in the first or second day of your periods due to severe PMS symptoms, but pilates are healthy exercises to help with period pains. Abdominal cramps is one of the most common PMS symptom among young women, and it seems like it always has a way of welcoming other symptoms. So the big problem is using about how to deal with the pain.
Period pain is caused by prostaglandin chemicals formed in the uterus to get rid of its lining. They make the uterus contract and press against blood vessels in severe cases, this may affect the supply of oxygen to the muscles. Pilate exercise helps to boost the oxygen level which reduces menstrual cramps.
Pilates Period Cramps Exercises
Pilates are relaxing and they require some mind work.
Seated Side Bends
Side bends are comfortable during periods because they are targeted at the obliques not the abdominal region. They strengthen the upper body and the waist.
To carry out a seated side bend Pilate;
- Cross your legs in a sitting position and your hands on the exercise mat, beside your hips
- Inhale and move your left hand across your head, take it beside your right ear and let your head bend towards that direction
- Exhale and slide out your right palm on the ground. Ensure that your body bends towards the right, without raising your buttocks
- Hold for 30 seconds and repeat the same stretch on the other opposite.
Rolling Down The Wall
Women experience cramps on different parts of the body. It could be the thighs, lower back or pelvic/abdominal region. Rolling down the wall pilates helps to reduce lower back pain by relaxing the muscles. It helps to alleviate soreness.
To do a Roll down the wall Pilate;
- Rest your lower back on the wall with your legs 6-10 inches away from the wall
- Inhale and exhale, then dropping your chin slowly with your hands hanging down to relax your shoulders
- Slide down with your body as far as you can.
Pilate lunges are targeted at the larger muscles, thereby improving the body’s metabolism and getting you energized. This exercise helps blood flow to the larger muscles. To do the lunges pilate;
- Stand with one leg forward and the other behind
- Hold a light weight up with both hands
- Inhale as you move your weight forward to stand fully on one leg, while raising the heel of the leg behind
- Exhale as you step back into position, then do the same on the other leg.
The child’s pose is an easy and gentle stretch for the back, hips and thighs. It strengthens the muscles at the lower back and inner thighs and reduce cramps.
To do a child’s pose Pilate;
- Kneel and sit on your knees
- Lean forward and put your head on the exercise mat, while sitting on your knees
- Stretch your arms out above your head, with your palms flat on the ground. Inhale and exhale in this position.
Why Pilates For Period Pain
Pilates are healthy exercises for period cramps because it focuses on your breath. Deep and conscious breaths allows the stomach stretch and soften up. This helps to relieve abdominal stress and also period pains. The most emphasized type of Pilate breathing is the “Lateral Breathing”.
The lateral breathing is deep and engages the low belly. It expands breath to the rib cage and requires the use of the back and thoracic muscles.
To practice lateral breathing;
- Place your hands around your rib cage
- Take a deep breath down to the sides of your body and to the back, until you feel your rib cage expanding in every breath
- Open your mouth and exhale, let your ribs contact and feel your hands drawing back together.
Ensure that the breath is not forced. Breath comfortably without expanding your lungs. The breath is for the rib cage not the shoulders, therefore only your rib cage is expected to be moving not your shoulders.
Another breathing technique is diaphragm breathing. It is also known as the big belly breathing because it is achieved by blowing out the belly, fully expanding your rib cage. It helps to relax your upper body and your mind. Although diaphragm breathing cannot be maintained during exercise, it simply helps to calm your mind and is also recommended.
Benefits Of Pilates During Periods
You definitely know already that relieving period cramps is one of the major benefits of pilates exercise. They help to relax the abdomen and reduce the contractions that causes pains.
Other benefits of pilates are;
Not too many women understand the benefits of low belly breathing, most of them simply breathe into the chest. Pilates based breathing helps to reduce hormonal effects during PMS or period itself.
- Whole Body Workout
Pilates improves the supply of blood to the muscles, increases endorphins and enhances the body’s metabolism to alleviate fatigue or weakness during periods. It serves as a whole body workout because the benefits is not limited to the lower part of the body.
- Improves Blood Flow
Pilates work on the pelvic muscles. Thereby, improving the flow of blood to the pelvic muscles and strengthening them.
Pilates basically help you stretch and relax, just what you need when the PMS symptoms come rolling in. However, you may still want to consult a medical assistant to know if this or any exercise is safe for you.