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Can ‘cycle syncing’ workouts to your menstrual cycle improve fitness levels?

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Can ‘cycle syncing’ workouts to your menstrual cycle improve fitness levels?

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If you’re someone who has to deal with a period on a regular basis, you’re probably all too familiar with how much your energy levels can change throughout your cycle thanks to hormonal fluctuations. Not only can this make even the simplest daily tasks challenging, but it can make it even more difficult to stay motivated to stay fit and stick to your regular exercise routine, especially when you notice a decline in your performance.

But, according to popular information on social media, a technique called “timing cycles” can help you avoid feeling this way.

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the premise of cycle synchronization it is relatively simple. Instead of doing the same type of training throughout the month, tailor your workouts according to the current phase of your menstrual cycle. Some women also go a step further and tailor their diet to each phase. The claim is that by doing so, you can help “balance” your hormones, which in turn can lead to a variety of health benefits, including better energy levels, fewer PMS symptoms, and better overall health. general.

But while the evidence shows that certain phases of your menstrual cycle may be optimal for different types of exercise, there’s currently no evidence to show that cycle timing has any benefits beyond making it easier to stay fit. Not to mention, getting loop synchronization to run correctly can be easier said than done.

The menstrual cycle can be divided into four phases: menstrual, follicular, luteal and pre-menstrual. The concentration of the sex hormones estrogen and progesterone changes in each phase.

During the menstrual phase (your period), estrogen and progesterone are at their lowest levels. But as you progress into the follicular phase, estrogen begins to rise. In the luteal phase, which immediately follows, progesterone concentrations also begin to rise. both hormones peak near the end of the luteal phase, before dropping dramatically during the premenstrual phase (days 25-28 of the average cycle).

READ MORE: The United States lacks adequate education about puberty and menstruation for young people

Research shows that thanks to these hormones, certain phases of your menstrual cycle are optimized for different types of exercise.

For example, the luteal phase may be the perfect time for strength training thanks to the rise in estrogen and progesterone. Research shows that there are notable increases in force Y endurance during this phase. Waste of energy (calories burned) and energy intake are also higher during the luteal phase, along with a slight decreased body mass. you can also find yourself feel more energetic and able to exercise during this phase. Hormone concentrations in the luteal phase may also promote greater degree of muscle change.

The follicular phase also shows some increases in force, energy expenditure, and energy intake. although smaller.

But when progesterone and estrogen are at their lowest levels during your period (menstruation phase), you’ll likely see fewer changes when it comes to building muscle. There is also a higher chance that you will feel fatigued due to low hormone levels, along with menstrual blood loss. This may be a good time to consider adjusting your training, focusing on lower intensity exercises (like yoga) and prioritizing your recovery.

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So, based on how hormones change during each phase of the menstrual cycle, if you’re looking to improve strength and fitness, you may want to plan your most intense workouts for the follicular and luteal phases to achieve the higher earnings.

This all sounds fantastic, and you may be wondering why more women aren’t following this trend. But the answer is that it may all be too good to be true.

While informed responses do take place, putting all of this into practice is easier said than done. First, most research on the impact of the menstrual cycle on fitness assumes that the cycle has a regular 28-day pattern. But 46% of women have fluctuating cycle lengths for about seven days, with an additional 20% exhibiting fluctuations of up to 14 days. This means that a regular cycle varies for each person.

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The second key assumption is that the progesterone and estrogen responses, which drive changes in fitness, are constant. But this is usually not the case, since both estrogen and progesterone exhibit large variations both between cycles and between each person. Some women may also lack estrogen and progesterone due to certain health conditions. These responses make it difficult to accurately track cycle phases through hormone control alone, and they also make precise timing difficult.

So while the idea of ​​synchronizing your menstrual cycle with your workouts seems logical, the results each person sees will likely vary. But if you want to give it a try, period tracker apps, along with using ovulation test strips and temperature monitoring, can help you get a good idea of ​​where you are in your menstrual cycle.

This article is part of living room, a series on issues that affect those of us in our twenties and thirties. From the challenges of starting a career and taking care of our mental health, to the excitement of starting a family, adopting a pet, or just making friends as adults. The articles in this series explore the questions and provide answers as we navigate this turbulent period of life.

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