How Pilates Can Help Relieve Period Pain
It might be counter-intuitive that exercise such as Pilates can help relieve period pain. Clients often ask us if it’s OK to do still do Pilates while on their period. The answer is YES. The hardest part is generally motivating yourself to get to class. While your stomach feels swollen and sore in the early stages, you’d be forgiven for not wanting to contract your abdominals. But there is much more to Pilates that can help provide relief next time you experience period pain.
Why Pilates for Period Pain?
Research and experience shows that low impact exercise like Pilates has a profoundly positive impact on overall health and wellbeing, as well as period pain. This is because one of your main focuses is on the BREATH.
Breath is your best friend while on your period.
At first it may feel like there’s no possible way your stomach could stretch any more, but breathing more consciously and deeply, you will get your diaphragm moving up and down. This allows your stomach to stretch, relax and soften more, which in turn helps to relieve tension in your abdomen. This focus helps distract the mind from the discomfort, and has also been shown help improve mood.
The Benefits of Pilates-Based Breathing
It might sound too easy and simplistic but reality is most of us breathe into our upper chest and neck. The benefits of deeper, Pilates-based breathing, whether to your belly or ribs, helps reduce stress and the hormonal effects of stress on our periods.
Pilates Improves Blood Flow
Another advantage of attending a Pilates class, is that Pilates improves blood flow, specifically to the pelvic floor muscles. By working the pelvic floor muscles you’ll improve blood flow, which can help to increase relaxation of these muscles. Like all other muscles it’s just as important to relax them, as it is to strengthen them.
Pilates is a Whole-Body Workout
Pilates is a whole body workout, which will release endorphins and improve blood flow to muscles in your body. This can help increase your metabolism and decrease any sluggishness you often feel during your period.
Pilates Exercises To Help With Period Cramps
Exercises such as Mermaid when combined with rotation and extension help promote blood flow to stomach and pelvis by contracting these muscles, and then using them in a lengthening position in extension. All this helps to relax the abdomen. My other go-to exercises that help to relieve bloating and tension are; mermaid, bridging and cat stretch on both the allegro and on the mat. When on the Reformer I can never go past a short spine, any time of the month!
The Many Health Benefits of Pilates
Next time you’re struggling to get to a Pilates class with period pain, remember the many health benefits of Pilates, such as relief from cramps, reduced bloating, improved relaxation, increased concentration, less PMS and better sleep.
For a more personalised Pilates prescription, book a private pilates session with a Moss teacher. This is the best way to learn and execute the movements that are right for your body safely and effectively.