3 Moves that Help to Ease Symptoms of PMS

Suffering from PMS ? Don't let that stop you from moving! The right exercises can actually help alleviate period pain. Try these three moves the next time you get hit with cramps.


1. The Cat/Cow:

How it helps:
"The undulation of the spine gently stretches out and loosens the lower back (which tends to get tight and ache during PMS), and the abs gently contract and stretch so that the abdomen feels less tense," says Lara Hudson, star of the 10 Minute Solution: Pilates for Beginners DVD.

How to do it: On all fours, exhale and gently curl your spine so that your tailbone and the crown of your head point down to the floor and your stomach pulls up into your back. Then, inhale and arch your spine in the other direction, arching your back and bringing the crown of your head and your tailbone up to the ceiling. Repeat this movement eight times.
2. Tic/Toc:

How it helps:
This move is great for PMS because it stretches the low back and hips with a gentle twisting motion - both areas that tend to hold tension during PMS. The twisting motion also helps to relieve tension in the abdomen with a mild 'wringing out' of the uterus, Hudson says.

How to do it: Laying on your back, stretch your arms into a T shape, bend your knees, and place the soles of your feet on the floor, close to your hips. Inhale as you lower your knees to the right, doing your best to keep the opposite shoulder on the floor. Next, exhale and draw your abdominals in to bring your knees back up to center. Repeat by tick-tocking the knees to the left, and exhale again to bring them to center. Repeat the tic/toc motion 5 times on each side. "Be sure to keep the knees squeezed together as if you're holding a $100 bill between them, so that the tic/toc motion stretches all the way up into the spine," Hudson says.
3. The Supine Twist:
How it helps: This move assists in spinal rotation and stretch of the spine and focuses on abdominal and oblique muscles, plus it feels great!

How to do it: Lying on your back, bring your arms into a T-position. Bring your right leg up into a 90-degree angle and then the left. Keeping your knees and feet pressed together, inhale and rotate the hips to the right, maintaining the 90-degree angle of the legs, then exhale back to the center. Alternate sides. Repeat 6-8 times. For an extra challenge, place a small pillow or a soft ball between your knees and hold it in place while performing this move.

More on SHAPE:
10 Yoga Poses That Increase Metabolism
The Perfect Posture Workout
20 Tips to Get Toned Arms Faster