Yoga and Exercise during Monthly Periods

  • Exercise increases the release of several chemical by nerve cells including the natural painkillers with a group of steroid hormones which promote the development and maintenance of female characteristics of the body, and the release of chemicals that is responsible for sending signals by the brain.
  • This helps in releasing hormone-like substances that participate in a wide range of body functions such as the contraction and relaxation of smooth muscle, the opening or closing of blood vessels, control of blood pressure and inflammation and raising the hormone ratio which decreases in becoming abnormally thick of the lining of the uterus and pulls blood flow away from the uterus.
  • Exercise may stops from engaging in negative thoughts and promotes positive thoughts; reduce depression, improve mood and behavior.
  • American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and the National Health Service in the UK have provided suggestions to women about the role of aerobic exercise (requiring free-oxygen) like walking, swimming, running or cycling as a treatment for monthly periods related disorders.
  • These exercises raises protein-rich liquids named as progesterone which plays an important role in pregnancy and helps make your uterus ready to support a fertilized egg. It also gives positive benefits to change mood and decrease stress.
  • The significant release of hormones during exercises have been found to be associated with reduction in pain, anxiety and depression in PMS, opposing the possible reduction in hormone level during the luteal phase.
  • Yoga is an effective method for improving health in addition to the prevention and management of diseases.
  • Yoga plays an important role in decreasing stress and sympathetic activity like increasing heart rate, narrowing blood vessels and raising blood pressure. Yoga also plays an important role in decreasing blood pressure, improving sense of well-being and decreasing anxiety levels.
  • Yoga movement included breathing exercise, meditation/ relaxation and different yogic postures like cat-cow, child's pose, plank and cobra as shown in the figure.
  • Cat-cow pose stretches the abdominal muscles, neck and back; and maintains the bending of the spine easily, and this pose is especially helpful for people who could not easily bend their backs.

Figure 1: Cat-cow Pose

  • Child's pose stretches the lower back and hips; and helps to release stress, decreases back discomfort, fatigue, gas and swollen because of containing too much liquid or food.

Figure 2: Child's Pose

  • Plank pose strengthens the arms, wrists, and spine; and the cobra pose stretches the chest and abdominal muscles and maintains the bending of the spine easily. It also improves poor posture, and combats depression, lower back discomfort and low energy.

Figure 3: Plank Pose

  • Cobra pose improves spinal flexibility and strengthens the muscles in back; the cat pose starts movement from center and coordinates movement and breath.

Figure 4: Cobra Pose

  • The fish pose relieves stiffness of the neck and shoulder muscles and improves flexibility of spine.

Figure 5: Fish Pose

  • Breathing exercises used in yoga can also reduce pain, because exhalation can help to produce relaxation and reduce tension. Awareness of breathing helps to achieve peaceful mind, slower respiration and helps in relaxation and pain management.
  • Yoga performers produce less IL-6 (responsible for infection, inflammation, and trauma) as compared to non-yoga performers.
  • It can significantly reduce the effects of increased stress responses; and reduces both anxiety and depression by regulating the hormones which is activated in response to a physical or psychological stress, and is responsible for a chain of behavior-related, body-related and mind-related responses in a human body.
  • The changes due to the release of stress-related hormone, anger or fear-related hormones can be regulated with a regular practice of yoga, ultimately leading to a healthy mind, body and soul. As stress and anxiety are directly related to the symptoms of PMS and menstrual pain, reduction in stress and anxiety with yoga can greatly reduce menstrual pain.
*PMS Premenstrual Syndrome

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