For many women, that time of the month is dreadful. Fluctuations in hormones can create mood swings, headaches, and depression. Some experience minor to severe cramping, bloating, lower back pain, and fatigue. Women often turn to taking pills to help alleviate premenstrual syndrome, but a healthier option to try is exercise. You may not feel like moving while you’re PMSing, but getting your blood flowing and releasing endorphins can do wonders for relieving PMS symptoms. Low-impact exercises that improve circulation in the pelvic region and reduce lower back pain can be very helpful. Try these 4 exercises when you’re PMSing to ease symptoms and rebalance your body.
1. Rolling Like a Ball– This traditional Pilates exercise massages the spine, strengthens your core, and improves circulation in the lower abdominal area. Sit at the top of your mat with your legs bent and feet on the floor. Hug your legs, wrapping your arms around your ankles. Create a C-curve in your spine by dropping your forehead to your knees and pulling your navel into your back. Keep your shoulder blades down. Lift your feet off the ground and balance on your tailbone. Inhale as you roll back onto your shoulder blades and exhale to roll up, never letting your feet touch the floor. Try to roll evenly on both sides of your spine. To modify, you can take your hands and place them behind the backs of your thighs instead. To make the exercises more challenging for the abs, interlace your hands behind your head and glue your elbows to the outside of your knees while rolling back and forth. Do 5-10 times.
2. Butterfly Crunch– Open up the pelvic floor region while strengthening your core. Lie down on your back with the soles of your feet together and your knees open to the sides. Allow your inner thighs to stretch in this position. Bring your arms long over your head and exhale as you crunch up, lifting the legs up at the same time. Reach your hands in between your legs towards your feet as you crunch up. Do two sets of 20.
3. Climb a Tree– This exercise will stretch your hamstrings and loosen a tight lower back. Sit up straight with your legs in front of you. Pull one leg into your chest and hold it up by hooking the back of your thigh over your forearm. Keep the leg bent as you try to straighten your back as much as possible, pulling your chest to your thigh. Straighten the leg up as you continue pulling it towards you with your arm to stretch the hamstring. Do this 3 times. On the last rep, hold the leg up and walk your hands to your ankle. Flex and point the foot 3 times. On the last flex, grab the toes if you can, drop your head, and pull the leg in as close as you can. Slowly walk down your leg, using your abs to lower your back onto the floor one vertebra at a time. Keep the leg up in the air as you lay down. Bring your chin to your chest as you climb back up your leg using your abs. Do the the climb down three times. You can finish with a figure 4 stretch by crossing your ankle over your other thigh and bending forward. Repeat with the other leg.
4. Squat Leg Lifts– Get your blood flowing, improve your posture, and strengthen your glutes with this exercise. Stand up with your feet in parallel a little wider than hip distance apart. Interlace your fingers behind your head and keep your elbows wide to open up the chest. Press the back of your head into your hands to lengthen and strengthen the back of your neck the entire time. Squat down as low as you can go without letting your knees pass your toes. Keep your weight on your heels to activate the backs of the thighs. Engage all your back muscles to prevent your body from rounding forward while you squat. As you straighten your legs to come back up, transfer your weight to one side and lift the opposite leg up to hip height, keeping it parallel. Lower the leg back down into your squat position again. Do 2 sets of 12 on each leg.
What do you do to help ease PMS symptoms?
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Video: Crystal Chin