When I'm couch-bound thanks to the unceasing, painful jabs of my period cramps, the last thing I really want to do is get up and exercise — curling up in a ball and rocking back and forth sounds much more appealing.
But, the truth of the matter is working out, or simply moving around my apartment, is one of the only things that eases my cramps faster. The Mayo Clinic actually notes that physical activity is one home remedy that can help some women manage their menstrual cramps, and I'm one of them!
My tried-and-true cramp exercise of choice is swimming, but since the pools near me have been closed since March, I've had to explore other living room-friendly options. Ahead, the four workouts that push me through the awful aches — and even a few other PMS symptoms.
My cramps kick in a day or two before my period arrives, along with a side of mood swings and increased anxiety. This particular combo of emotional and physical discomfort calls for time spent on my yoga mat — stretching through active Sun Salutations and letting all the stress go during Savasana.
I've tried a handful of yoga apps, and Peloton Yoga is by far one of my favorites. The Peloton app, which costs about $13 a month, offers a ton of different types of yoga — like restorative yoga, power yoga, yoga flow, yoga basics, yoga anywhere, and pre- and postnatal yoga — for every skill set and need.
When I feel the faint twinge of a period cramp, I usually turn to a 20 or 30-minute yoga flow session — which combines the perfect amount of active sequences and seated poses.
I'm definitely not at my perkiest during my period — in fact, I'm kind of a drag. Positivity and an upbeat personality from my workout instructor is what I need in those moments. That's exactly what you can expect from Andrea Rogers in XB Pilates, available on the Openfit app.
The low-impact pulses and thoughtful, small movements in Rogers's workouts fire up my muscles, and her encouraging messages always push me through those last few challenging reps. It was in Rogers's workouts that I learned that lightweight dumbbells are dramatically underrated — an arms series with 2 lb. weights left me sore for days.
Sometimes plyometric moves get a hard pass from me — especially during the first few days of my period. So, when I want to focus on toning my legs, I turn to P.volve, a low-impact, high-intensity workout method that utilizes small, mobility-focused movements and tools like ankle resistance bands and sliders to target hard-to-reach muscles.
POPSUGAR Fitness Videos
When I do have more energy to jump around or get my heart rate up, the POPSUGAR Fitness Youtube channel is where it's at. Living room cardio can get old pretty fast, but POPSUGAR's cardio and dance fitness workout spice up the average jumping jack. I'm a huge fan of the no-equipment videos, which also pop up in strength training playlists, too. Trainer Taylor Walker's 30-Minute No-Equipment Cardio Workout is a solid place to start. If you're in the mood to target your core, check out 20-Minute Obliques Workout With Jake DuPree.