That time of the month can be challenging, especially when you’re on the go. Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, dealing with PMS symptoms can put a damper on your plans.
The good news is that exercise can be your ally in tackling these issues. There’s an option that suits you, whether you prefer gentle activities like yoga, leisurely walks or more intense workouts.
What Is PMS?
You’ve probably experienced premenstrual syndrome (PMS), when things get a bit challenging. The exact cause of PMS is still unknown. Experts suggest it could be linked to hormonal changes, particularly a drop in estrogen and progesterone levels during your body’s luteal phase. This occurs as your body prepares for the possibility of a fertilized egg implanting itself.
You might encounter mood swings, bloating, cramps and other discomforts during PMS. Exercise can help alleviate pain, boost mood, regulate hormones, enhance blood circulation and even improve sleep. Here are some exercises to help you stay active and on the go.
Incorporating stretching into your routine can be a game-changer for managing PMS symptoms. It targets muscle tension, enhances spinal flexibility and alleviates discomfort, reducing the risk of injury during your travels. The best part is that you can do it anywhere without special equipment.
You can do specific stretches like the seated forward bend, where you sit with your legs extended and reach for your toes. The supine twist requires you to lie on your back, bend your knees and gently drop them to one side while twisting your upper body in the opposite direction. These stretches help release hamstring, spine, abdomen and lower back tension.
2. Deep Breathing
Deep breathing exercises can help calm your nerves and reduce stress. Practicing mindfulness simultaneously allows you to stay attuned to your body’s needs, and you can easily incorporate it into your daily routine, even while traveling.
Try doing the 4-7-8 breathing technique. Sit or stand with proper posture, close your eyes and inhale quietly through your nose for four seconds. Then, hold your breath for seven seconds before exhaling fully through your mouth for eight seconds. Repeating this cycle several times can effectively induce relaxation and aid in managing mood swings.
You can also complement deep breathing with aromatherapy to enhance your well-being and mindfulness experience. Lavender essential oil is known for pain reduction, while cinnamon and rose oil offer anti-inflammatory and mood-enhancing properties. Bergamot and ylang-ylang can help reduce anxiety. These essential oils can be a soothing addition to your on-the-go PMS relief toolkit.
Going for a walk might not be at the top of your list when you’re on your period. However, walking can be enjoyable and beneficial for PMS relief.
Keep it short, under 30 minutes, because overdoing it can make you feel more tired than you’d like. Here are some tips on how to make walking more enjoyable and maximize its benefits:
- Take scenic walks: Choose walking routes that offer scenic views. Whether it’s a picturesque park, a coastal path or a cityscape, exploring beautiful surroundings can turn your walk into a delightful experience.
- Listen to music or podcasts: Bring your favorite playlist or download engaging podcasts during your walk. The right soundtrack can make the time fly by and put you in a positive mood.
- Explore local markets: If you’re in a new place, look for markets or street vendors along your walking route. Sampling cuisine or picking up unique souvenirs can make your walk more enjoyable and memorable.
- Set goals: Challenge yourself by setting goals for your walks. Increase your daily step count gradually or aim to reach a specific landmark or viewpoint.
- Walk with a friend: Invite a traveling companion to join you on your walks. Conversations during a stroll can be more engaging than sitting in a cafe, and it’s a great way to bond.
Yoga is a holistic practice and a fantastic way to find balance amid hormonal fluctuations. It can alleviate symptoms, including bloating, cramping and breast tenderness. Here are some poses that you could try for relaxation and easing abdominal discomfort:
- Child’s pose: Start your yoga session with this soothing pose. Kneel on the floor, sit back on your heels and reach your arms forward while lowering your forehead to the ground. The child’s pose gently stretches the lower back, relieving tension and discomfort.
- Cat-cow stretch: Get on your hands and knees, alternating between arching your back like a cat and dropping your belly like a cow. This dynamic stretch helps relieve lower back pain and menstrual discomfort.
- Downward-facing dog: This classic yoga pose reduces bloating and stretches the entire body. Push your hips up and back while extending your arms and legs, creating an inverted “V” shape.
- Bridge pose: Lie on your back, bend your knees and lift your hips off the ground. Bridge pose strengthens the lower back and pelvic muscles, easing menstrual discomfort.
5. Pelvic Floor Exercises
Strengthening your pelvic floor muscles can reduce cramping. Try Kegel exercises, which target the muscles that support your pelvic organs. Here’s how to perform them effectively:
- Locate your pelvic floor muscles: Start by identifying the right muscles. Imagine you’re trying to stop the flow of urine midstream. The muscles you use for this are your pelvic floor muscles.
- The basic Kegel exercise: Sit or lie down comfortably once you’ve located your pelvic floor muscles. Contract them for three to five seconds — imagine pulling them upward. Release and relax for the same duration and repeat this cycle 10 to 15 times for three sets per day.
- Progressive Kegel exercises: You can progress to longer contractions and more repetitions as you become more comfortable with basic Kegels. Try contracting for 10 seconds, then relaxing for 10 seconds. Gradually work your way up to 20-30 seconds per contraction and increase the number of repetitions.
Traveling With PMS
Traveling with PMS doesn’t have to be a dreaded experience. Incorporating these five exercises into your routine can make a difference in managing those symptoms. Remember to listen to your body, stay hydrated and prioritize self-care during your travels.