‘I tune into my body and feel what’s needed each day, that includes what style and intensity of exercise’
For years I thought I just wasn’t very good at sticking to an exercise plan. Then when I started tracking my menstrual cycle, I noticed that I was more able to do AND enjoy certain exercises at certain times in my cycle.
It’s taken me years to work this stuff out! I’ve played tennis competitively, rowed 26km on The Thames, tried all different types of yoga and reached the conclusion that I like variety and simply need to listen to my own body.
That’s the only exercise plan I stick to and enjoy. And because of that, it works!
I decided to share this, not as a template for what others can do, more as a living example of how the menstrual cycle serves as an accurate compass for those with a womb, a cycle and a knowing that there is another way beyond pushing through.
As women, I feel it’s so important we talk about these things. It generates a more connected experience of sisterhood and brings us out of silent suffering and confusion.
So here it is, my current it changes with seasons and phases of life exercise regime in tune with my menstrual cycle!
Moontime: Slow, Still & Quiet.
Slowly and gently is the name of the game here.
As I’m in a natural state of meditation, I don’t go out much. In fact, for 2 days I barely leave my mooncave.
I walk up and down the stairs a few times to help with general circulation and do some gentle hip opening yoga asanas.
Soles of the feet together and knees apart with a hot water bottle on my womb is a particular favourite.
Slow, focused and quiet does the job nicely.
Pre-Ovulation: Gentle, Soft & Steady.
I ease myself back into exercise the same way I ease myself back into the outside world.
Starting slow and soft, I’ll swim, go for yin yoga or do light interval training on mostly cardio machines at the gym.
There’s definitely no push here. My energy is predominantly yin and I add more yang exercises as yang energy rises within.
Going gently, softly and steadily allows my energy to build naturally and I’m stronger around the rest of my cycle for it.
Ovulation: Variety is the spice of life!
Longer cardio, cross trainer, faster yoga, upbeat exercise, faster bike rides and up for trying new things is what I’m doing when ovulating.
I increase cardio and add more weights and reps.
This is when I need variety the most!
Lots of different styles of exercise keep me interested and I just love feeling my body get stronger and fitter.
I’ve come to relate to exercise as a celebration of what I can do! Yes!
Premenstrual: Focused, Long & Strong.
I’m starting to slow down in pace but I feel stronger physically.
I’m also more emotionally robust and in my power here as I lead with a no-nonsense, deeply honest approach to life.
This is when I lift heavier weights, do less cardio and more toning up. This mirrors my psyche. Toning, adjusting.
Pilates is great here for me.
I go for heavier weights, more reps, additional sets, strong and long yoga poses, pilates for the core.
Long slow bike rides afford time for this natural state of analysis and reflection, as does a long walk with an incline on the tread mill. Long and strong!
Going more towards my period, I do more hip openers and stretches to help prepare for the opening and downwards flow.
I make sure I have good workouts during the last few days of my cycle so that for 2 to 3 days very light exercise feels good.
How does all of this land with you? I’d love to hear how you exercise in tune with your menstrual cycle!