Kill PMS Signs
Shark week. Surfing on the purple wave. A visit from Aunt Flo. Riding the cotton pony.
No matter how many sweet euphemisms we assign to our menstrual cycle, they do not take away gas, cramps, tiredness or heightened emotions.
Some use these ailments as a reason to indulge in unhealthy comfort foods or to hit the snooze button and skip the morning workout. But why hoist a white flag when you have a sack full of unused weapons to help combat these symptoms?
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Make the most of the arsenal below so you can head into battle fully prepared next month!
No matter how much I sleep, the second day of my cycle I'm always more tired than usual, and all I want is to spend a full season in Lucifer. It used to seem so easy to exercise in this state of mind. Why should I want to waste precious energy when I had a job to do and a family to look after? Well, because even at low intensity symptoms of tiredness are reduced by 65 percent!
While it is tempting to be looser during this time, it is actually crucial to stick to a fitness routine even if you are doing fewer repetitions, opting for modifications, or choosing another physical activity like yoga or cycling.
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Those ice cream binges won't help either. Sugar increases our blood sugar levels, which causes our pancreas to make more insulin, which causes our blood sugar to drop and we feel tired and foggy.
I don't think I'm going to ask you to throw away the candy. Instead of reaching for the processed material, turn to fruit. Fructose processes much more slowly in the body because the fiber remains intact, which allows time for proper digestion.
Regulate your feelings
If Elle Woods taught us anything (other than how to be a kick-butt boss), the endorphins from training make us happy. As someone who has used fitness as one of my core tools in overcoming clinical depression, I can attest to this, but you don't have to trust us dynamic blonde babes. Studies consistently show that moderate exercise reduces anxiety, depression, and negative moods, and improves our self-esteem and cognitive functions.
I don't know about you, but I'll do just about anything at this time of the month to make me feel less like a crazy water-holding manatee and more like me.
You may laugh, but on the second day of my period, I broke down once in my twenties because of a chicken from my childhood. The emotional battle is real, and I'm pretty sure anyone within 20 feet of me during Lady Time will be grateful that I took the time to deal with the deluge of complicated emotions . As a result, I shout at them a lot less often because I don't understand why I'm yelling over a Subaru commercial.
Emotions are also amplified by processed foods through the gut-brain connection of our vagus nerve. These foods cause inflammation along our vagus passages, which send electrical impulses to the brain, alerting it that something is wrong. This can increase anxiety, stress, and depression.
One of the best things you can achieve is kale, which is high in phytonutrients (which help our brains), folic acid and omega-3s (which can help with depression), and a variety of B vitamins (which help optimal cognitive function promote) is filled). Kale is also 89 percent water, which helps keep potassium levels balanced and reduces water retention (also known as gas).
Back pain, gas and cramps
As if the shaky feelings and exhaustion weren't enough, nature also threw in a whole host of other beautiful nuisances to keep us writhing and reaching for medicine bottles. Fortunately, exercise can alleviate these too.
Think about it: if you get a leg cramp, what do you do first? They stretch or massage it. However, if we have stomach cramps, we immediately withdraw to the next heating pad and cling to our ibuprofen. A muscle spasm is an involuntary contraction of a muscle. Stretching elongates the muscle and stops the contraction.
Back pain is typically associated with these cramps. An excess of prostaglandins, hormones released during our cycle, can cause severe uterine contractions. High prostaglandin levels can lead to more intense cramps that can radiate to the lower back.
To combat these common PMS ailments, stay hydrated and follow a low-sugar, low-sodium diet. Eat foods that are high in B vitamins, potassium, and vegetable protein.
Crimson Wave Circuit
While any low to moderate impact exercise will be beneficial during this time, I've created a signature circuit that specifically targets the ailments we just discussed. Do it twice for not only relieving period pain, but also giving your core and glutes a workout!
Bridge pulse (lower back pain)
Lie on your back Bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart. Place your arms next to you, palms down. Your fingertips should be touching your heels. Squeeze your hips up, squeeze your glutes, reach into your core, and pull your belly button towards your spine. Let your hips drop a few inches, then push them back up and push them all the way up. Repeat for 30 seconds. To come down, lower one vertebra at a time until your back is flat on the floor.
Reverse crunch (gas)
Lie on your back with your arms by your sides and palms down. Bend your knees 90 degrees and lift your feet so that your thighs are perpendicular to the floor. Squeeze your palms and grasp your core. Lift your hips as you bring your knees towards your chest. Hold for a breath, then lower your hips in control, keeping your back pressed to the floor. Repeat as many times as possible in 30 seconds without affecting your form.
Modified toe cock (cramps)
From a sitting position, lean back on your forearms. Your palms should be at your hips. Bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor. Lift one leg at a time so your thighs are perpendicular to the floor. Make sure your spine stays straight. Start by lowering your right foot and just tapping your toes on the floor while your left leg remains in the table position. Place your right leg back on the tabletop and repeat with your left leg. Take turns doing this for 30 seconds.
Bicycle legs (fatigue)
Make sure your spine is straight in the same sitting position on your forearms. Bring your knees towards your chest. Extend your right leg at an angle of about 45 degrees to the floor. Just go as deep as you can without rounding your spine. Inhale, bring your leg back to the center, and switch sides. Walk as fast as you can while maintaining the integrity of the position, increasing your heart rate and breaking the sweat. Continue for a minute.
Shark Week Smoothie
This is my favorite treat when I'm on my period. It's packed with potassium, omega-3, protein, B vitamins, iron, and a small dose of caffeine, so you'll feel like a boss baby again in no time.
- 2 cups of fresh kale
- ¾ cup of vegan milk (I prefer flax for the omega-3 fatty acids.)
- ½ banana
- ½ ounce dark chocolate bar
- 1 tablespoon of peanut butter
- Mix the kale and vegan milk well in a blender or scoop.
- Add other ingredients and stir until smooth.
- Add water by the tablespoon if it is too thick until you reach the consistency you want.
As women, we expect to be busy every day. If we are not infinitely productive and full of energy, we burn out, feel overwhelmed and get into a state of self-judgment and self-sabotage.
You deserve this time every month to reflect on yourself, go one step deeper and indulge in this Netflix show, but it doesn't have to be about throwing your goals and health to the wind and wallowing in self-pity, while you eat out of calories for a week.
Fight the symptoms so you can enjoy slowing down a little. Stick to your goals so that you can get off the cotton pony every month and still feel powerful and confident like the warrior you are.
If you are interested in learning more about Amanda Webster, her history and what she has to offer, please visit her website.