When you're dealing with painful period cramps, quite often the last thing you want to do is work out. But recent research shows that hopping on the treadmill might actually help you feel better. Talk about motivation!
The July 2019 study, published in Contemporary Clinical Trials, analyzed 70 women with primary dysmenorrhea (aka period pain). Researchers instructed one group of women to do a supervised treadmill exercise three times a week for four weeks, beginning the day after the end of their period. This was followed by unsupervised home exercise for six months. Meanwhile, a control group simply carried out their typical workouts as usual.
Results showed that the women who ran on the treadmill reported six percent less pain after four weeks. Then, after continuing the exercise for an additional six months, these same women had 22 percent less pain. Furthermore by the end of the study, they reported higher overall quality of life and improved daily functioning.
"These multiple benefits might be considered a 'package deal' by women," said researcher Leica Claydon-Mueller, PhD, in a press release. "The evidence supporting the use of aerobic exercise for managing pain, improving quality of life, and improving daily functioning has been strengthened by the findings from this research...although it was perhaps surprising that there was no significant difference in sleep quality to that of the control group."
Most health experts recommend aiming for about two and a half hours of moderate exercise per week. But when using the treadmill to ease period pain, always remember to stay in tune with your body and rest when you need to. And of course, if you prefer to jog outside rather than hit the gym, that works, too — nothing like a breath of fresh air!