Pre-menstrual tension or PMT is one of the most common health problems affecting women between the ages of 18 and 45. There is a wide range of PMT symptoms, but typically they begin 7 to 14 days prior to the period, and progressively worsen.
A lot of women are unsure as to whether exercise during their menstrual cycle is a good thing to be doing. Let's take a look at what typical PMT symptoms include:
- Anxiety, irritability, mood swings
- Sugar craving, fatigue, headaches
- Bloating, weight gain, breast tenderness
Depression, confusion, memory loss, insomnia
- Pimples, oily skin and hair
- Cramps, lower back pain, nausea and vomiting
Fortunately, there is a simple activity which can lessen these symptoms - exercise. The vigorous pumping action of the muscles that occurs with exercise moves blood and other fluids from congested organs, relieving pain related symptoms such as rapid, shallow breathing, involuntarily muscle contraction, plus aching in the ankles, feet, and pelvis due to fluid retention.
There are also positive psychological effects. Exercise reduces premenstrual anxiety and produces a more relaxed, peaceful state of mind, probably due to an increased output of endorphins, chemicals made by the brain that have a natural opiate effect.
It is not important what exercise you do, rather what matters is that it is something that you can maintain even when the symptoms strike. Research has shown that women who make exercise a regular part of their lives experience significantly lower premenstrual problems, less pain and lower rates of depression than non-exercisers.
When you add these benefits to all the other positive effects of exercise, such as weight control, improved health, and so on, it is easy to see why doctors recommend that women make exercise a regular part of their lives.