Exercising with Endometriosis
Last updated: May 2022
Exercise is part of the fuel that keeps me going. Maybe it’s because I’ve always opted for workouts that feel more playful. Starting my day with yoga, pilates, swimming, or a barre class helps to set the tone for my day – mentally, physically, and emotionally.
Living with endometriosis, I’ve noticed though how much I need to be aware of my cycle and adjust my workouts accordingly.
The body is fluid and ever-changing, especially as an ovulating female.
It’s not realistic for me to expect my body to perform exactly the same through the different stages of my cycle. Once I realized this it took a lot of pressure off, especially on the days when my body needed a more restorative workout, but I was trying to push it through a high-intensity workout.
How exercising can help someone with endometriosis
Let’s start with a high-level view of the benefits of exercise while living with endometriosis.
Exercise can help to relieve and manage emotional stress, which in my opinion can be of the highest priority when living with a chronic illness. It gives us the ability to release both physical and emotional stress.
Exercise also has the ability to strengthen our back and abdominal muscles which can help to relieve low back pain and perhaps even some abdominal cramps during your cycle. These same muscles can also help to improve your posture, which not only supports you in breathing easier (putting your body in a more relaxed state) but also maintains the health of your pelvic floor.
Last but not least, exercise can support you in simply feeling more comfortable in your body, which when you’re living with a chronic illness, can be an incredible gift.
There are endless benefits to exercise, and it’s worth taking the time to find the style of movement that works best for your body. Keep in mind, that it doesn’t have to be at a gym or on a treadmill. Hiking in nature, swimming in a lake, gardening in your backyard, and taking a dance class can all be great forms of exercise.
Sticking with your exercise routine
Once your find the exercise that works best for you, then you want to find the schedule and level of intensity that works best with your cycle.
For example, I find that a few days before my period and definitely during my period, I need to have a gentler workout. These are days that are primed for yoga and pilates.
It gives me an opportunity to conserve energy and be more compassionate with my body when it may be experiencing cramps, dips in energy, or other symptoms. Sometimes, I might opt for a full rest day during this time as well.
Which exercise plain is best for endometriosis?
After my period, when I feel better, I have the opportunity to focus on strength training or some of the high-intensity interval training that I enjoy with friends.
Because each of our bodies is so unique, and our individual cycles can fluctuate, there’s no one prescriptive workout plan or method. The remainder is more than exercise can offer us a lot of benefits in the endometriosis sisterhood, and when you select your favorite form of movement, be sure to adjust it as needed throughout the month to honor your body’s cycle.
What are your best tips for exercising with endometriosis? Share below!
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