Exercising and Dieting with PMS During Menstrual Periods

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Do you miss workouts every month because of your menstrual cycle? Do you binge eat on high fat and sugar laden junk foods because of your intense cravings during this period? Women are much more active than a few decades ago and many ladies are less likely to let their menstrual cycle affect their lives. Exercise is usually the last thing you feel like doing when you are dealing with premenstrual syndrome (PMS) but it seems that the release of serotonin and other “feel good” chemicals which occur through exercise will actually help you with the symptoms of PMS. You may have to go lighter and a little easier with your workouts but you should still try to get some moderate exercise in every few days during your menstrual cycle.

Diet is another important factor which is easily affected by the intense cravings for salt and sugar during this period. These two items along with caffeine may actually make your PMS symptoms worse, even though the desire to consume them is heightened. Trying to avoid these foods is your first step but you can also help your PMS issues by eating the right foods which are healthy and include important nutrients!

One of your best choices is to indulge in high magnesium foods which help relax the muscles. This is great for helping with the cramping effects that PMS brings on. Foods such as pumpkin, sesame and sunflower seeds, along with greens like spinach, broccoli, kelp and swiss chard are amazing for you. Legumes include soy, black beans and navy beans which are very high in magnesium and also work extremely well. Chinook salmon and baked halibut are also healthy choices that are high in magnesium and a great choice for muscle building protein. You can easily prepare a couple of weeks worth of nutrient dense meals based solely on these foods alone.

I personally take extra magnesium, up to 1000 mg per day before, during and after my menstrual cycle. In some cases, magnesium will also prevent migraines due to the muscle relaxing effects which is the main reason I use this nutritional supplement. I used to get migraines every month until I discovered this solution.

Water is essential for helping you through your menstruation period but many women avoid it due to the bloating issues they get. This actually worsens your PMS symptoms. You will not increase bloating if you drink more water and most women bloat regardless. There are some great herbal teas which help control water retention during your menstrual cycle. These teas are normally called PMS or diuretic teas and include natural ingredients such as black cohosh and dandelion flower and/or root. It’s important to consistently drink 1-2 liters of water per day during PMS since this will help decrease your symptoms.

You can eat dandelion leaves for a similar effect and if you look very closely, those spring salad mixes at your local grocery store usually have some in there. Steaming them is also a great way to eat them and it’s very healthy for you. I like to add them into minestrone type soups.

Getting enough sleep every night is absolutely crucial during your menstrual period. We are told in general to get 7-8 hours of sleep each night for overall health and well-being. This cannot be more true when it comes to your menstrual cycle. You need adequate rest along with some mild exercise and a healthy diet which is filled with food sources that contain high levels of magnesium to optimally prime your body for this important time during the month. These factors combined with proper hydration should help against the discomfort and pains caused by PMS so you can get through your menstrual cycle feeling great!

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Linda Cusmano

Linda is a national level fitness and figure pro who dabbles in bodybuilding competitions, obstacle and strength challenges along with fitness model competitions. She is a triple certified elite personal trainer and the owner of Body Rush Personal Training. See my profile page for more information!

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