Skip Nav
How Is Ovarian Cancer Detected?
Healthy Living
This Is the Biggest Misconception About Ovarian Cancer
It's Time to Transform Your Workout Wardrobe With These 8 Nike Essentials
How I Stopped Worrying at Night
Healthy Living
This Simple Hack Helped Ease My Worrying, So I Could Finally Get a Good Night's Sleep
How Do You Genes Impact Your Diet
Culinary Genomics Might Just Kill the Fad Diet Forever
Diet Plan For Belly Fat
Weight Loss
Tired of Stubborn Belly Fat? Here's What You Need to Ditch From Your Diet

Why Does Exercise Help Cramps?

When Period Cramps Hit, This Is Why Exercise Can Help, According to 2 Doctors

"Exercise helps everything!" That's what ob-gyn Erica Cahill, MD, cohost of The V-Word podcast, told POPSUGAR when we asked why exercise can make menstrual cramps feel better. We agree — exercise is basically muscle-building magic — but what exactly is it about a workout that can ease period pain, in particular?

It's a combination of two things, Dr. Cahill explained. On the one hand, exercise releases endorphins, chemicals that boost your mood and help you feel happier. Beyond that, Dr. Cahill explained that exercise also reduces your levels of cortisol, aka the hormone your body releases when you're stressed. Cutting cortisol is big when you're having cramps, Dr. Cahill said, because you'll decrease inflammation, too.

What does inflammation have to do with cramps? As Jaime Knopman, MD, a reproductive endocrinologist and the director of fertility preservation at CCRM New York, told POPSUGAR in a previous interview, cramps are caused by the uterus contracting, like a muscle cramping up during exercise. Those contractions are necessary — that's what expels the uterine lining — but the hormones that trigger them, she explained, also cause inflammation and pain. That's why exercise, which helps to drop your cortisol levels and decrease inflammation, can be helpful.

Not that you're always in the mood to exercise when it feels like your uterus is preparing to explode. If a workout is out of the question, you can try a heating pad or painkillers like ibuprofen. But if you can manage it, Dr. Cahill says, those natural chemical responses make exercise a great cramp remedy to try before, during, or after your period. Check out this trainer's workout recommendations for every phase of your period to see if that exercise magic can make your cramps a little more manageable.

Image Source: Getty / Brad Gregory
More from POPSUGAR
From Our Partners
Should I Eat After a Workout If I'm Not Hungry?
Sophie Turner Talks About Depression on Dr. Phil Podcast
Why Do I Sweat So Much at Night?
Best Nike Gear at Nordstrom
How I Stopped Worrying at Night
Low-Estrogen Birth Control Pills
How Is Ovarian Cancer Detected?
Why You Should Get 8 Hours of Sleep
What Is Circadic Rhythm Hacking?
Parts of the Self-Care Wheel
Life Lessons Learnt Playing Team Sport
What Happens When You Take Apple Cider Vinegar Every Day?

From Our Partners

Latest Health & Fitness
All the Latest From Ryan Reynolds