Pilates and your period
Did you know that the types of workouts you do can affect your hormones? For example, workouts that are high stress on your body like weight lifting and sprinting, can cause hormones like cortisol to spike. While cortisol levels spike and come down after a workout, during certain times of the month it does not work like that.
I love a good weight lifting routine. Weights are needed to have strong muscle mass and help us do everything, but forcing your body to do workouts that induce cortisol the week before and the week of your period is not recommended if you are following cycle synching (anything that strains you or makes you breathless). During your luteal phase, your cortisol can increase so the best thing you can do is counterbalance that with an ample amount of sleep and low stress movements like pilates!
Why Pilates? Pilates is one of the best workouts for women as it helps with posture, flexibility, strength and body awareness. These are all great for getting in shape and body confidence no matter what size you are. Also pilates, for the most part is low intensity. Sure you can break a sweat on a pilates reformer, but especially with mat pilates, you can expect an easy to follow workout that gives you that burn without leaving you breathless.
What are our favorite pilates moves?
1. Leg lifts. Lay on one side and make sure to keep your side abs off the mat by keeping them engaged. This way your spine is also aligned, causing less tension on your back which can lead to pain. Raise your legs with the goal of squeezing your side glutes to lift the leg. Kicking the leg feels good, but is not as effective of a workout.
2. Wall raises. With your legs on the wall lift your booty . Make sure to keep your back in alignment by going up one vertebrae at a time. This exercise can also feel very good if you have lower back tension.
3. The Pilates Hundred. This exercise is when you lift your shoulder blades off the floor and have your legs at a slight angle while pumping your arms to generate a little heat. This ab exercise can be intense, so for those of us who need a more gentle workout, make sure to drop your legs only a few inches while avoiding your lower back lifting up- or leave your legs bent in table top if you have lower back pressure. The deep breathing (in for 5, then out for 5 until you get to 100) can help relax you- which we all need during this time of the month!