Period Cramps: NOT an Excuse to Skip a Workout

Marjorie Korn,SELF

We'd love to give you a pass, but every expert we polled said that exercise is nature's Midol. You break a sweat and you get a rush of happy-making endorphins--key at that time of the month when they're naturally at their lowest levels, says Pinar Kodaman, M.D., assistant professor of medicine at Yale University. Those same endorphins dull the effects of prostaglandins, chemicals that trigger cramps, which means any workout you do--run, pilates, boot camp--is like popping a painkiller. If you need insta-relief before you can even think about the gym, try this prep pose from Chicago yogi Allison English.

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The Move: Legs Up the Wall

Lie faceup with legs extended up wall, feet flexed, arms at sides. Place rolled towel under hips. Hold 3 minutes.

Why It Works:

  • Pressing into the towel helps release tension in the lower back.
  • Your pelvis is tilted up, changing circulation and easing cramps.
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Add a Cool Mind Trick:

Repeat a word that sums up how you want to feel post-workout (i.e., better!); it will help convince you to get moving.

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