PMS and Exercise

How and Why to Get Moving When You Feel Cramps Coming On

How exercise can help eliminate cramps and pelvic pain

Bloating, cramping, nausea, mood changes, constipation, anxiety. Your “time of the month” can come with a multitude of premenstrual symptoms. Thankfully we’re not completely helpless.  Research tells us that exercise can help to reduce both physical and psychological symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS).

What if you’re tired? 

We get it! And we promise it doesn’t take a huge effort. Research says that exercising three times per week for 20-40 minutes is enough to see changes in how you feel. That’s only 60-120 minutes per week!

Does the Type of Exericse Matter?

Swimming, aerobic exercise, and yoga have all been shown to reduce PMS. Of these, yoga demonstrated the greatest benefits. Our recommendation? Do whatever sounds best to you. Don’t force yourself into exercise that you hate or you feel could cause injury.

What Else Helps?

A healthy diet, drinking adequate water, getting plenty of sleep, and reducing stress. We’d also strongly recommend that you see your primary care provider and a mental health professional if your PMS is disrupting your daily life. Give yourself the holistic care you deserve.

Take care of you! 

Self care has major payoffs! Exercise is just one of the many ways we can love and care for our premenstrual bodies. At Breathe., we want all humans to feel comfortable moving in their bodies. If exercise is uncomfortable or painful for you, come see us. We’d love to help you feel better!


Mohamed Maged A et al. Effect of swimming exercise on premenstrual syndrome. Arch Gynecol Obstet.  2018 Apr; 297(4):951-959.

Mohebbi Dehnavi Z, Jafarnejad F, Sadeghi Goghary S. The effect of 8 weeks aerobic exercise on severity of physical symptoms or premenstrual syndrome: a clinical study. BMC Womens Health. 2018 May 31;18(1):80.

PMS and PMDD: guide for teens. MGH Center for Women’s Mental Health: Reproductive Psychiatry Resource & Information Center. 2018. Accessed November 25, 2020.

Rapkin AJ, Mikacich JA. Premenstrual dysphoric disorder and severe premenstrual syndrome in adolescents. Pediatr Drugs. 15,191-202 (2013).

Vaghela N, Mishra D, Sheth M, Bharat Dani V. To compare the effects of aerobic exercise and yoga on premenstrual syndrome. J Educ Health Promot. 2019 Oct 24;8;199.

Yesildere Saglam H, Orsal O. Effect of exercise on premenstrual symptoms: a systematic review. Complement Ther Med. 2020 Jan;48:1022272.

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