Exercises That Ease Menstrual Cramps

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Exercises That Ease Menstrual Cramps

Menstrual cramps and pain are a widespread occurrence among many women during menstruation. Uterine contractions that stimulate blood from the uterus are the primary cause of menstrual cramps.

Menstrual pain also knows as period pains or dysmenorrhea can dull and annoying or severe and extreme. Menstrual cramps usually begin after ovulation when the ovaries release an egg, and it travels down in the fallopian tube.  The pain is in the lower section of the abdomen and lower back. Menstrual cramps can also cause lightheadedness or nausea. Cramps usually start 24-48 hours before menstruation. It can last for 2-4 days.

Menstrual cramps pain that only occurs because of the menstrual process is called primary dysmenorrhea.  

Cramping pain that occurs due to other identifiable problems such as uterine fibroids, pelvic inflammatory disease, or endometriosis is known as secondary dysmenorrhea.

 You may not feel the motivation to work out when experiencing menstrual pain, but exercising helps in relieving cramps. These exercises will increase blood circulation to the reproductive organs and help to relieve the pain.

Low-Impact Cardiovascular Exercise

 Cardiovascular exercises are any exercise that raises the heart rate.  They help to keep muscles in the right shape for movement, strengthen and increase their efficiency.  The heart is a muscle, and cardio exercises make it stronger enabling it to pump more blood and oxygen to the muscles. Increased circulation to the reproductive organs helps in cleaning the inside of uterus reduce stagnation and relieve pain. It also relaxes the muscles and eases the pain of the contraction.

Additionally, cardio exercises also help in relieving cramps by triggering the brain to release beta-endorphins a natural human painkiller.  It helps in faster burning of the chemicals released during periods (prostaglandins) which cause muscle contractions and cramping.

 Walking, biking, rowing, and skipping rope are some of the cardiovascular exercises.  The pain from menstrual cramps may hinder strenuous workout. Low impact exercises such as walking or using elliptical exercise machines help in achieving the desired outcome without strain the increases discomfort.

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Yoga emphasizes deep breathing, movements, and relaxation. It helps in the understanding of the body and unlocking its potential.   Yoga ignites a relaxation process that relieves mental and physical symptoms by working the ways of experiencing pain and interrupting it. Yoga postures help in relieving emotional stress which also increases menstrual discomfort by elevating the mood and stimulating the release of body’s natural painkillers.


 Swimming is a low impact exercise which cannot strain the body. Swimming in warm water allows the temperature to soothe the tense muscles.  If the cramping cause pain during a swim, walking at the shallow end of a pool provides the same benefits. Swimming also helps in elevating the heart rate to activate the release of endorphins which are feel-good chemicals. These chemicals lift the mood, relieving pain and muscle aches.

Stretching exercises

 If menstrual cramps are too painful for cardiovascular exercises, stretching is a good option. It helps to relieve tension in the muscles and increases blood flow to the body.  The fresh oxygen that the new blood takes to body parts is a natural painkiller.

Abdominal exercises

 Abdominal exercises target the muscles that menstrual cramping affects. Although these muscles are in pain, abdominal exercises force them to expand which is better than contracting and cramping. It is possible to do abdominal crunches using a weight machine or on the floor.  Lie on the floor with the legs flat and arms by the side.  You work on the abdominal muscles through these steps:

  • Use the lower abdominal only to raise the legs
  • Bend the legs at the knee
  • Tuck them and the chin to the legs
  • Repeat the motions in three sets an tens times for a set

Exercises help in relieving menstrual cramps by stretching the muscles and increasing oxygen supply by blood circulation which helps in soothing the paining regions.

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