I don’t watch Dr. Oz very often. And by very often I mean like never.
But a couple of years ago I was sick at home, flipping through the TV channels. Daytime TV is pretty dismal and I figured I could use a good laugh, so I put on his show.
Right as I changed the channel he was beginning to talk about how PMS isn’t really real. Women were actually just imagining the symptoms because it was something they expected to have each month.
I was about ready to throw the remote at the TV!! Dr. Oz drives me crazy at the best of times, but for him – a MAN – to say that cramps, bloating, irritability, and a desire to hide alternating with a desire to gun down everything in my path was all in my head?!
What is PMS?
If you’re a woman and you’re reading this I don’t think I have to explain what PMS is. But just in case, PMS, short for pre-menstrual syndrome, is a variety of symptoms that usually happen 1-2 weeks before a woman gets her period.
Fluctuating hormones tend to be the main culprit of the symptoms, which include, but are unfortunately not limited to, breakouts, abdominal cramping, bloating, irritability, inability to sleep, fatigue, food cravings, back aches, anxiety, mood swings, depression, tender breasts, joint pain, and blood sugar fluctuations.
But that’s all just imaginary, right? 😉
Sorry Dr. Oz, but I have to call bullshit.
Not every woman experiences PMS the same way, and your experience with PMS may change throughout the course of your life. Some woman get intense cramps while others get none. Some women want to eat every single chocolate bar in the store, others don’t even bat an eyelash at dark chocolate. And some women don’t experience any symptoms at all.
How can you manage PMS?
Because the symptoms of PMS are so widely varied, managing PMS is a little different for every woman. For those who get mildly uncomfortable and a little grumpy a week or two before their periods but don’t really have their lives negatively impacted, some simple lifestyle changes might be all you need.
Keeping stress levels in check, exercising regularly, getting adequate sleep, and eating nutrient-dense foods can all help to reduce symptoms of PMS. Apparently my idea of eating a sandwich made of peanut butter spread between two chocolate bars isn’t a great way to manage PMS.
For some women, symptoms can have a severely negative impact on their lives. In these instances, it’s often recommended they visit their doctor to discuss options for treatment. Common remedies include over-the-counter anti-inflammatories to reduce pain, supplementation, and sometimes even anti-depressants.
I went on birth control at a fairly young age to help control my PMS, which at the time was causing crazy abdominal cramps. My hormones have been an absolutely wreck after going off it 2.5 years ago, so I will neeeeever consider that as a treatment option for myself again. 😳
Should you exercise when you have PMS?
I won’t lie – there was a time when I got a little stuffy about clients cancelling at the last minute because they had PMS.
“Sure, it’s uncomfortable, but working out will do you good!” I thought. WE ARE WOMEN. We can handle a little short-term discomfort, right???
And then I started to experience what PMS fatigue felt like. I started getting cramps that felt like I had a wild animal scraping at my insides. I started losing all desire and motivation to do anything. Except eat. The desire to eat got REALLY strong.
Without getting too much into detail here, I’ve had some hormonal issues over the past couple of years that have made things very irregular and unpredictable.
Seemingly out of nowhere I’d get this wave of fatigue and a big grey rain cloud over my head and I’d have no idea what the hell was going on. It took awhile for me to link these symptoms to PMS, but I finally clued in 😉
So the question remains – despite all the cramping, all the exhaustion, all the MISERY – should you exercise when you have PMS?
The short answer? Yes.
The long answer? Move your body, but do it in a way that feels good for you. If you planned on going for a run but you feel like you can barely lift yourself off the couch, get outside and get some fresh air. Walk to a bench and sit down or go for a slow stroll.
If the idea of lifting weights makes you want to cry, go to a yoga class and lay on your mat (I once spent an entire class alternating between child’s pose and laying on my back – I’m surprised the instructor didn’t ask me what was wrong with me!).
Getting some movement in will give you a teeny tiny endorphin boost which will help combat the grumpies. It’ll give you a bit more energy. It’ll reduce those feelings of “fat” (something I get every time I have PMS).
Trust me – I KNOW how hard it is to get up and move when you feel like a bag of bricks. But the way I see it is, if I’m going to feel like crap regardless of whether I lay down or I go for a short walk, why not get up and do something good for my body, giving myself the opportunity to feel a bit better afterwards?Should you exercise when you have PMS? Get the facts! #womenshealth #wellbeing Click To Tweet
If you’re finding that PMS is having a really negative impact on your quality of life, it would be worth a trip to your doctor or your preferred health practitioner to see what your options are. Because you deserve to be happy, healthy, and confident!
What do you think, readers? Should you exercise when you have PMS? Or should you rest?