By UnCrampMe Team

Best Exercise for Menstrual Cramps: A Natural Pain Relief Guide

Finding the right exercise for menstrual cramps can feel like searching for a needle in a haystack while in pain. This guide gets straight to the point, with exercises that have been proven to help with cramps and menstrual health. Whether you’re at home or in the gym, find routines that give you relief and fortify your body against menstrual discomfort.

Key Takeaways

  • Exercise regularly to reduce menstrual cramps by releasing endorphins and lowering prostaglandins. Aerobic exercise, strength training and flexibility exercises are the most beneficial.
  • Align your exercise routine with your menstrual cycle and symptoms to get maximum pain relief. Aerobic exercise during high energy phases and low impact exercise during menstruation.
  • Add in allied therapies like nutrition, heat therapy and mindfulness to help with period pain but if pain is severe, consult with healthcare providers for further treatment.

Unlocking the Power of Physical Activity for Menstrual Pain

Research shows that a physically active lifestyle can help with menstrual pain. Exercise releases endorphins – natural painkillers produced by our body – and reduces prostaglandins which cause cramps. But how does physical activity help with menstrual discomfort and which exercises should you do?

For those who hit the gym or those who prefer quiet stretching at home, there are many activities that can help with pain relief. In this article we’ll explore how aerobic exercise, strength training and flexibility exercises can reduce painful sensations during your menstrual cycle. Understanding how these different types of exercise work together will help you create a personalized approach for managing period pain.

The Role of Aerobic Exercise in Easing Period Pain

Aerobic exercise is like a gentle dance that gets your circulation going and speeds up your heart rate and helps with period pain. The increased blood flow and endorphin rush work together to turn down the volume on pain. Think of it as your body’s natural pain off switch.

Regular aerobic exercise can help with period pain in several ways.

  • Gives instant relief.
  • Can cause hormonal changes that reduce prostaglandins which are cramp triggers.
  • Swimming is a gentler option without increasing bleeding due to the vasoconstrictive effect of cold water.
  • Try swimming, cycling or brisk walking.

Every step towards regular aerobic exercise is a step closer to less period pain.

Strength Training: Can It Help with Cramps?

Advancement. We’re going into strength training. Focusing on exercises that target the core can change your whole cramp experience. Building strength and flexibility in the core muscles is a shield against recurring monthly pain.

Adding planks or crunches to your workout not only builds muscle but makes menstruation more manageable. These types of exercises are low intensity not high intensity. A reliable way to get rid of cramps every month.

Flexibility and Relaxation Techniques

We shift from the dynamic of strength training to flexibility and relaxation techniques. For many women who suffer from menstrual pain, yoga is a sanctuary with its various poses and deep breathing exercises. It promotes blood flow and has poses that target the abdominal area to alleviate discomfort. It’s a holistic approach to get rid of cramps and bloating.

See our best yoga poses for period cramp pain to learn more!

Especially helpful are poses that make you lie down prone like cobra pose. These can be a natural painkiller against dysmenorrhea if done regularly. But their benefits aren’t just physical – they also reduce stress and boost emotional well-being, making them a must-have in managing menstrual distress.

Tailoring Your Exercise Routine During Your Monthly Cycle

Adjusting your exercise routine to the natural fluctuations of your cycle can give you optimal pain relief and peak performance. This means synchronizing your workout with each phase of your cycle so you improve blood flow and honor what your body needs.

In the follicular phase where energy is abundant, more intense exercises may be suitable since it aligns with how your body feels it can use stored energy. On the other hand, during the luteal phase where menstruation is near, a softer approach by incorporating low intensity exercises may be more suitable for this preparatory phase. This strategic adjustment ensures you exercise effectively without overloading your system.

Matching Workouts with Symptoms

How do you adjust your workout to period symptoms? Opt for gentle exercises like yoga or walking during the menstrual phase so you can move without making symptoms worse. As you enter the follicular phase and your energy levels rise, consider increasing the intensity with endurance or strength training that matches your body’s capacity to perform.

To be sure during exercise throughout your cycle:

  • Choose the right sanitary products to prevent leaks and stains.
  • Change these products before starting a workout.
  • Focus on your fitness goals without distractions.
  • Hydrate to ease menstrual discomfort.
  • Add stretches to every workout to progress consistently.

Adopting these tactics ensures not only seamless workouts, but also allows one’s attention to remain fixed on their athletic ambitions.

When to Take It Easy

When your body says rest, you must rest. Severe menstrual pain or increased PMS symptoms like breast tenderness is a definite sign you need to dial back the intensity or take a break altogether. By listening to your body you reduce the risk of making symptoms worse and come back stronger in your next workout.

If you’re feeling fatigued and your regular exercises feel harder than usual, consider this a sign to pivot to lower impact activities that match how your body feels right now. Remember scaling back isn’t quitting – it’s a strategic pause to set you up for success on the path ahead in your exercise routine.

Allied Therapies: What to Do Beyond Exercise

Outside of traditional exercise lies a world of allied therapies that can help you tackle menstrual pain. These complementary approaches work alongside your exercise routine to give you a full body approach to managing discomfort. We’ll look at how your diet and the home remedies for period cramping pain you use can support your period pain strategy.

Nutrition is a big player in reducing inflammation and overall health. Here’s what foods can help with period cramps:

  • Fruits and veg: These are antioxidant rich and anti-inflammatory.
  • Omega-3 fish: Salmon and sardines are high in omega-3’s which are anti-inflammatory.
  • Vitamin E: This supplement has been shown to reduce cramps.
  • Magnesium: Another supplement that can reduce cramps and support your workouts.

Along with these dietary changes you may also want to look into alternative therapies like acupuncture or physiotherapy which can give you more options for relief.

Heat Therapy and Exercise

Heat therapy is a great cramp reliever. Imagine lying on a heating pad after a good workout. This isn’t just for relaxation – it’s treatment.

The heat relaxes tense muscles and soothes tightness in the lower abdomen and gives you relief from period pain. Heat also improves oxygen flow and supports lymphatic drainage making it a great addition to post workout recovery.

Take the knee to chest exercise as an example where combining with mild heat from hydrocollator packs can give you significant relief and reduction of menstrual disturbances. This shows how combining different approaches – exercise with heat application – multiplies the impact of reducing pain caused by period cramps.

Deep Breathing and Mindfulness Practices

Adding deep breathing and mindfulness practices can change your emotional state and reduce physical discomfort. Diaphragmatic breathing which is a rhythmic contraction of the abdominal muscles that enhances your respiratory system during exercise helps relax the pelvic floor muscles and reduce menstrual pain.

Practicing mindfulness – which is present moment awareness – during exercise turns each inhale and movement into an active meditation. Combining mental focus with physical activity gives you a full body approach not only to reduce symptoms but also to address the stressors that come with menstrual discomfort and gives you a peaceful retreat in the midst of the chaos of your monthly cycles.

Consulting Healthcare Providers: When Exercise Isn't Enough

Exercise and related therapies can help with menstrual pain but there are times when these won’t be enough. When self care isn’t cutting it, you need to know when to see healthcare providers. They have the expertise to offer alternative options and the support your own management is lacking.

If you have persistent pain that doesn’t respond to over the counter meds or if exercise has disrupted your period, you need to see a provider. A provider has the skills to dig deeper into menstrual discomfort and offer personalized interventions beyond the usual exercise routine.

Recognizing Severe Period Pain

How do you know if your period pain has become severe? Check the signs, especially if you’re one of the 10% who have dysmenorrhea. Pain that’s unbearable and lasts more than 2 days or interferes with your daily activities is a sign to seek medical help.

Also watch out for other symptoms like heavy bleeding or acute pelvic pain that spreads beyond your tummy. If your period pain is hindering you from doing your usual tasks, act fast in seeking help. It’s not just to relieve the discomfort. It’s for your overall health and to prevent menstrual issues from affecting your quality of life.

Exploring Medical Treatment Options

When it comes to medical treatment options for menstrual cramps, here are some:

  • Hormonal contraceptives to regulate and modify hormone levels and uterine lining.
  • Over-the-counter options like ibuprofen or naproxen as analgesics.
  • If over-the-counter meds don’t work, prescription-level nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs might be prescribed.

To find a treatment plan that’s right for you, consult with healthcare experts. This may even include joining a clinical trial on managing such pains.

If conditions like endometriosis or fibroids are behind the cramps, surgery might be necessary. Knowing secondary dysmenorrhea is important since this type can worsen and last longer than primary dysmenorrhea. So accurate diagnosis and management is crucial.

Staying Active Despite the Pain: Encouragement and Tips

Dealing with period pain requires many exercises and treatments but it’s still a tough one. Support and tips can help motivate you to be active even when the pain persists. The key is to find the balance between pushing through the pain and knowing when your body needs a break.

To manage period discomfort while being active, try:

  • Massage therapy to reduce pain and boost mood
  • Drinking plenty of water and minimize salt and caffeine intake to reduce bloating
  • Exercise regularly

Using these tips can help you better cope with period pains and make it easier to stay active during your period.

Overcoming Common Barriers to Exercise

Exercise during menstruation has its barriers, physical and psychological. For teenage girls, the start of periods means a decline in sports participation due to shame and low motivation. The stigma around menstruation only adds to the challenge, discouraging women from exercising regularly.

But programs like ‘Move Together’ show how creating a supportive environment can break these barriers. By exercising in a stigma-free space, these initiatives help young girls get back to loving sports and exercise. It’s a reminder that with the right support, being active during menstruation is not just possible, it’s powerful. This is in line with education and health promotion which prioritizes developing healthy habits in young people.

Success Stories: Real-life Examples

Sometimes a motivational story of beating menstrual pain is all we need to tackle our own. Take the university student whose period cramps were almost gone after doing yoga regularly or the young professional who felt her symptoms disappear after gentle cardio.

These are more than just personal stories. They are proof that exercise can be life changing for managing period pain. Whether it’s stretching routines or regular physical activity, it’s shown to make a big difference. Let these success stories be your guide – with determination and the right strategy you can beat menstrual cramps.


We’ve covered the terrain where exercise meets menstrual pain relief, from the endorphin boosting effects of cardio to the calming power of yoga. We’ve learned how to tailor our workouts to our cycles and when to add in complementary therapies or seek professional help.

Let this be your guide as you navigate the monthly challenges of your cycle. Use physical activity, allied therapies and the wisdom of healthcare providers. Whether it’s the warmth of a heating pad or the energy of a swim, remember relief is within reach and your body is worth it.


What exercise is good for period pain?

Walking or gentle jogging on days when your flow is lighter may help with bloating and cramping. These exercises improve blood flow and release endorphins which gives relief.

Does exercise really reduce period pain or is it just a distraction?

Yes, exercise can actually reduce period pain by decreasing prostaglandins and increasing endorphin release – your body’s natural painkillers. This can help with cramps and other pains during your period.

Should I avoid certain exercises during my period?

During your cycle pay attention to your body. If you’re feeling intense discomfort or severe period pain, choose gentle exercises like swimming or yoga over high impact exercise.

Can changing my diet help with menstrual cramps?

Adding foods rich in omega-3 and anti-inflammatory foods to your diet can help reduce inflammation and support your body throughout the cycle and potentially ease menstrual cramps.

When should I see a healthcare provider for period pain?

If your period pain is unbearable, lasts more than 2 days, interferes with your daily activities or if over the counter meds don’t provide relief then see a healthcare provider.

Medical attention is needed if you have symptoms like severe pelvic pain or heavy bleeding during menstruation.