We are all operating on full-throttle as life is increasingly becoming a race. Most people are unable to find time, resources, and the will to make the required changes to better their health. We come in all shapes and sizes but must try to adopt a healthier lifestyle. The right nutrition, ample sleep, exercise, and in-personal social interactions, along with mindfulness practices to help cope with stress are essential for women and people who menstruate.
Women’s hormonal levels go up and down throughout a moon cycle. You might want to consider your menstrual cycle to make the best out of your efforts. A woman’s menstruation cycle may range anywhere between 24 to 38 days. However, to make things easy to follow, this 12 weeks care routine will encompass suggestions and recommendations for three consecutive menstrual cycles. Although there is no normal period as different people have different normals, the chart depicts each cycle of 28-days as a constant. You can make adjustments to suit the length of your unique cycle and each of the phases.
You may use this table as a quick guide for reference:
|Menstrual / Moon Phase||Day||Hormonal Changes||Sex Tips||Recommended Exercises|
Menstrual / New Moon
|1 to 5||Estrogen and progesterone are low due to bleeding.||Prioritize rest. Several surveys suggest that orgasms relieve cramps if you wish to try.||Light movements at best. Prioritize rest.|
Follicular / Waxing
|6 to 14||Estrogen and progesterone are on the rise.||Creative foreplay involving touching and massaging is suggested as sex drive is naturally low.||Low testosterone means low stamina, so stick to light cardio.|
Ovulatory / Full Moon
|15 to 17||Estrogen peaks. Testosterone and progesterone rise.||Your interest in sex is highest as estrogen and testosterone are peaking. Perfect baby making time for couples.||Ring testosterone spikes energy levels. Go for high-intensity exercises, circuit training, and weight training.|
Luteal / Waning
|18 to 28||Estrogen and progesterone levels are high. If the egg isn’t fertilized, hormones dip, restarting the menstrual cycle.||Try new things as you will require more than usual stimulation to climax.||Keep the intensity of exercise from light to medium as low energy levels are expected.|
We have all heard and read about the effects of yoga on menstrual cramps and distress for women. Did you know that it is recommended to practice certain yoga poses even during the period? Yes, you can work out whilst bleeding and it also helps. However, the type of workout must vary based on the menstrual phase you are currently in. If you are not aware of them, you might want to first learn about your moon phases before jumping into details. Exercising is a fun way to boost your energy, promote better sleep, prevent excess weight gain, improve your mood, and also enhance your sex life.
During your menstrual phase since you are bleeding, the hormones estrogen and progesterone are low. Ideally, you should stick to light movements at best for working out. It is time to prioritize rest and avoid labor-intensive activities. You might want to try practicing yoga as it may offer some relief from period cramps. You might want to try Baddha Konasana or the cobbler’s pose, Janu Sirsasana the head-to-knee pose, Upavistha Konasana, the seated straddle, Paschimottanasana or the seated forward bend, Setu Bandha Sarvangasana the supported bridge pose, Supta Baddha Konasana the Goddess pose. You can also practice pranayama or breathing exercises, go for a light and leisurely walk in nature, and of course, practice the relaxing pose Shavasana. Take a slow start, and by the time your third cycle comes, you will be able to work out efficiently.
You should also pay special attention to what you eat and consider consuming herbs for period wellness. Most women refrain from sexual intercourse while they are menstruating. You might want to try it if your partner agrees, as some studies suggest that it helps relieve cramps. Try CBD-infused period pads if you are experiencing heavy flow or debilitating pain from menstrual cramps.
Estrogen and progesterone are on the rise in the follicular phase as the bleeding has stopped and the period is concluded. You feel better than how you felt in the menstrual period and can do much more. However, the stamina is still low due to low testosterone levels. Stick to medium-intensity, whether you are doing cardio, strength training, or jogging. You may push a bit harder in the last couple of days of this phase.
You might want to eat sprouted and fermented foods during the follicular phase. You might not be too willing to indulge in penetrative sexual intercourse but you and your partner can pleasure each other in other ways. Creative foreplay, massaging, hugging, cuddling, caressing, etc., are suggested as sex drive is naturally low. Towards the end of this phase, things change and you will have far more energy and interest in sex.
The ovulation phase is the shortest as it usually lasts three to four days when estrogen peaks and the hormones testosterone and progesterone rise. This is the highest energy time and it is time to get some high-energy workouts done. It means you can run instead of jogging, HIIT instead of stretching, power Yoga instead of the mid-intensity poses, etc. You also might hit your personal best in strength training during ovulation phase.
You are recommended to eat anti-inflammatory foods while ovulating. It is a magical time when you are at your peak attraction, and it is the perfect time for a couple to conceive. If you are single, it is the ideal time to meet potential candidates to become your partner if you are so inclined. The ovulation phase is the best time to socialize, go out, and do what you want as you are at your highest energy level.
The luteal phase is the longest one and typically lasts 10 to 14 days. During this phase, estrogen and progesterone levels are high. If the egg isn’t fertilized, hormones dip, restarting the menstrual cycle again. You might be able to do well in terms of endurance in performing sporting activities, strength training, and circuit training during the first half of the luteal phase. The temperature of the body is relatively higher due to high progesterone levels some women might feel drowsy. You can work out, but endurance training might be tricky in the second half of the luteal phase as you are about to get your period. So, during the second half, you might want to stick to low-intensity cardio, yoga, and pilates to lower premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms.
Women are prone to suffer from bloating and indigestion during the luteal phase for which ginger root can be helpful. Magnesium-rich and serotonin-producing foods are recommended during this time. Since the ovulation phase has elapsed, your cervical mucus will dry up and create a blockage to prevent any additional sperm from going into the uterus. Since your period is right around the corner, you might not be too much interested in sex. You might want to try new and creative things for stimulation as it will be required more than usual to climax.
When you work out, eat, and conduct your routine activities based on your current menstrual phase, you begin to bring your biological rhythms in sync with the cyclical nature of the universe. Spending time to learn about your body, its cyclical nature, to develop period positivity for managing your menstrual pain better, have a healthy reproductive organ for improving your fertility. Also, don’t forget that you can’t fix what you can’t analyze. So, tracking your periods is essential for you, your period coach, OBGYN, or doctor to offer best solutions. You will feel significantly better after three cycles or 12-weeks of following this routine.
Note: This information is strictly for educational purposes. Each menstruating individual experiences periods differently and it is recommended that you speak with your healthcare provider before making sudden changes to your dietary and workout routines. Some of the suggestions and recommendations might not be safe and right for you based on your existing health conditions.
Cherie Marquez is the co-founder of Red Moon, where she brings her talents as an entrepreneur, storyteller, and holistic health enthusiast. Cherie is also the founder of Take One Daily Media, a marketing, advertising, and design agency dedicated to using media in creative and progressive ways. For twenty years, Cherie has used marketing and design strategy to impact social change. You can connect with her on Linkedin.