Your hormones at work
I’m sure you’ve seen the latest research that shows sitting down at a desk for hours on end is very bad for your health. You may have even rolled your eyes when reading those headlines, thinking, “If the sitting doesn’t kill me, the constant anxiety I get from this kind of research will!”
I understand your frustration. I often hear from the women who work with me here at Flo Living that they just don’t have time for a daily scheduled gym session or 30 minute DVD workout between their work and kids and household chores. I think shows like the “Biggest Loser” have influenced us to feel like we have to be doing intense exercise every day to see any benefits.
Thankfully the studies are building to suggest that learning to bring more movement, even the most gentle kind, into your routine is actually much more beneficial than an intensive workout. In fact, the New York Times reported that a single minute of intense exercise within a daily ten minute movement plan can improve your health longterm. A sprint up the stairs within 20-30 seconds interspersed with yoga moves and stretches for 10 minutes every day is enough. Phew! This science is great news because it supports what I’ve been saying all along – you don’t want to over exercise all at once and exhaust your adrenals – it actually works against you in terms of maintaining ideal weight.
Exercise and your reproductive health
Not sitting for long and taking breaks to move is better for your health than a spin or aerobics class. As well as decreasing your risk of developing cardiovascular disease and cancer and increasing overall fitness, regular movement has a positive impact on your reproductive health – specifically that is, your periods, your fertility, and your libido. Regular movement that targets your pelvic area will help to heal painful periods, endometriosis, PCOS, ovarian cysts, infertility issues and low sex drive.
Think about it – sitting actually compresses your uterus, ovaries and entire pelvic region. This causes stagnation and poor blood circulation in these organs. Vitality boosting micronutrients and hormones are blocked from circulating properly through your reproductive system. So your lady parts aren’t getting what they need to function at their best. Movement can bring you easier periods and improved fertility, as well as increase your energy, boost your mood, and make sex feel a lot better. Regular exercise makes your body use glucose more efficiently which helps with insulin resistance. This sets you up for healthy menstruation and consistent ovulation.
And not stressing about never making it to the gym will have its own rewards!
But the more you move, the more you’ll want to move. So, I’m going to share a one day plan for incorporating more movement in your lifestyle, plus make some suggestions for more vigorous exercise for those that feel they enjoy, need or want to continue a regime of working out in the traditional sense.
My one day movement plan
Use an app, your Fitbit, or the alarm on your cell to set reminders to keep moving every 30 minutes throughout the day.
If your boss wants to know why you are taking a regular screen break, remember that the much respected “Pomodoro technique” of working in short bursts with frequent breaks has been proven to increase productivity.
During work hours:
- Stand up from your desk and stretch from side to side and forward and back to rotate your whole pelvic region. Repeat 5-10 times.
- Stand up tall and stretch your arms and hands over your head to lengthen out the abdomen. Then bend down to touch your toes. Repeat 5-10 times.
- Do a abdominal twist from side to side placing your hands on your back and looking over your shoulder. Repeat 5-10 times.
- If you have a phone conference consider taking part while walking on the spot or around your office building, if you can, rather than sitting at your desk. An in-person meeting could be moved from the boardroom to the sidewalk – studies show we communicate and think better when we’re on the move.
I love this instructive video from the founder of Infinity Wellness Partners for whole body stretches.
At lunch or on your break:
- Try out that super short 20-30 second stairs sprint followed by a yoga warrior or triangle pose.
- Take a stroll around the office or, even better, outside. Explore a new part of your local area or walk to your favorite lunch spot.
- Use your office furniture creatively to (safely!) do some push ups or resistance exercises.
Flo Living graduate and fitness expert Emily Sonnenberg put together some easy and short routines you can do at home or at the office.
Cycle-syncing your exercise routine for better reproductive health
If you find that incorporating movement into your daily routine boosts your energy, by all means also incorporate regular workouts as much as you like. However, the best way to approach this is by paying attention to your Flo.
I talk a lot about cycle syncing your eating habits, but what about exercise? To really get the most out of optimizing your hormones, you should change up your routine to fit your cycle phase in much the same way as you do your diet. Your body is primed for different kinds of activity across your cycle, just as it’s looking for different kinds of nutrition through the four phases. You’ll lose more weight and feel fitter if you tune to what feels most natural.
During the first part of your cycle your energy is naturally higher and you’re ready for high intensity exercise. During the second part of your cycle your hormonal ratio of estrogen and progesterone shifts making more restorative physical activities the ideal. So during menstruation walking and yoga are perfect, but during ovulation you might be primed for kickboxing.
I’ve searched the internet for exercise videos for each phase of your cycle and these are my favorites.
Always remember, that once you have the right information about how your body really works, you can start making health choices that finally start to work for you! You can do this – the science of your body is on your side!
to your FLO,
Good things come in threes:
I want to hear from you
First, do you prefer regular movement to working out?
Second, what are your favorite fitness or movement apps?
Third: You know every one you know is hormonal – spread a little good ovary karma and share this article on social by clicking the buttons below
Need more Hormone Help?
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I’ve designed a 4 day hormone detox and evaluation to help you understand exactly what’s out of whack and how you can start getting back to balance so that your hormones no longer have to suffer.
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I thought it wasn’t a good idea to do yoga during menstruation, as many poses could result in back flow or even stop the flow of menstrual blood? So, I usually stick to walking during that time. I have a history of insulin resistance PCOS and hypothyroidism. Even losing 20 pounds last year didn’t get me a period every month without provera. I’m 44 and every was fine in my last medical visits. According to the BBT chart on fertility friend, I usually ovulate between cycle days 16 and 30, and my cycles are usually 23-30 days on provera. They had been irregular since prior to my pops disgnosis and even more erratic since my ectopic pregnancy at age 42. Irregular cycles started at age almost 40 but didn’t get disgnosed until 41. Was diagnosed with low thyroid at 42, before I knew of pregnancy that turned out to be ectopic. Sorry for such s long comment…
@@ cycle days 16 and 20
@@such a long comment
I can attest to your article. Working out and staying healthy is good for your hormones. I am 55 and postmeopausal for a couple of years. I have always eaten healthy and active, but when I became perimenopausal, I made sure to have my omegas (flaxseed, evening primrose) and my alkaline diet. I didn’t have any complication and only one “hot” flash. I had heard horror stories, I wasn’t going there.
I am a massage therapist and do onsite corporate massage. I tell all of my clients to move in short sessions throughout the day: work it into your waiting time at elevators, bus stops, train platforms. There are many micro-moves and isometric exercises one can do to keep the “Flo” moving.
Hi. I love your website! I am curious- a little concerned. It would seem to me that exercise, particularly focused on the abdomin and pelvic area, are risky if you have ovarian cysts or uterine fibroids. Does it matter the type of exercise you choose to do to boost health while facing these complications? For example, I planned to begin a focused exercise on the stomach and back area before my recent diagnosis. Now, I feel like sit-ups, crunches, and cardio could risk a rupture. What would you say?