Plugging away in the same vein all month may not serve your body best. Australian researchers discovered that women are more likely to sustain knee injuries in line with their menstrual cycle, particularly during the end of week four and the beginning of week one.
Turns out there’s a difference in the way we move during menstruation compared to ovulation. (If you're not sure when you ovulate, you can get to know the signs of ovulation online.)
Poor motor control is the culprit, as the firing rate of nerves that control muscle activity shoots up significantly at the beginning of week four and drops at the end of the week and stays low heading into week one.
'When you're running your knees collapse inwards on the foot-strike and let your quads do all the work rather than engaging your hamstrings and glutes,’ says Dr Timothy E. Hewett, Mayo Clinic sports medicine director of biomechanic research.This doesn’t mean you have to give up running (or exercise in general) for a whole week out of every month because of female hormones.
Hewett discovered that by supplementing with neuromuscular training (single-leg balance work, plyometric jumping and hamstring and glute strengthening) for 15-20 minutes twice a week, subjects were able to reduce the load on their knees and ankles and build strength and coordination in both sides of the body, dropping ACL injury, ankle injury and kneecap pain by a whopping 50-60%.
Even so you’d be forgiven for wanting to skip the gym on the first couple of days of your period as the major dip in both oestrogen and progesterone can result in fatigue. Bolster energy levels with a vitamin B supplement and if you’re still feeling exhausted, and/or suffer from intense menstrual symptoms, such as heavy flow, lower back pain, and cramping, perform active recovery exercises instead, such as light jogging, Pilates or foam rolling moves.
‘These symptoms are an indication of inflammation and often hyper-mobility in the lower back which can be dangerous if doing heavy lifting, powerful agility training or even an intense yoga class,' reveals Niki Rein, founder of ballet workout Barrecore.
Between days three and six of your cycle, once oestrogen begins to rise, you’ll find your energy levels improve, so schedule HIIT and heavyweights now.
Trying to get pregnant? It's important to manage stress hormones around ovulation, which would fall during the middle of week two for those on a 28-day cycle. Avoid cardio sessions longer than 30 minutes and opt for interval training such as HIIT, barre, yoga or Crossfit classes instead to keep sensitive cortisol levels grounded.
This is a write up by Women's Health. Read the full article here
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