The PMS Workout: 4 Moves to Ease Cramps

Dana Meltzer-Zepeda, SELF magazine

You're 25 days into your cycle when those all-too-familiar aches and pains start to emerge in your lower abdomen. Not only are you plagued with stomach cramps but you're also exhausted but you can't seem to stop inhaling gallons of Ben & Jerry's chocolate ice cream.

PMS is the bain of most women's existence. For most of us, it either means dealing with constant discomfort or popping pills like Tic-Tacs to ward off cramps. Luckily, there is another option to keep symptoms at bay.

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"Working out helps release endorphins and mitigates the stress that can cause you to go off-kilter while you are PMS-ing," says Cristi Christensen, Mind Body Director at Exhale Center for Sacred Movement in Venice, California. "Exercise gets your blood flowing and brings your body back into balance, alleviating the physical and psychological symptoms of PMS."

Incorporate these four moves into your regular routine whenever your monthly visitor swings by to help alleviate "bloating, cramping, fatigue, mood swings and depression."

Related: Yoga Moves for Flat Abs

Extended Triangle Pose
Stand with your legs about three feet apart. Turn your right foot out 90 degrees and your left foot slightly in. Extend your arms out to the sides and engage your quadriceps. With your back straight, being to hinge from your hips and bring your right hand to your shin or the floor. Stretch your chest open and extend your left arm up to the sky keeping your head in a neutral position. Take 3 to 5 deep breaths or hold 20 to 30 seconds and repeat up to 3 times on each side to open your pelvic region and bring space to your abdomen.

Half Moon Pose
Start in extended triangle on the right side. Bend your right knee and place your fingertips of your right hand on the floor or on a block directly underneath your shoulder. Lift your left leg up to hip height while straightening your standing right leg. Open your pelvis and chest so that your hips are stacked one on top of the other. Flex and extend out through the lifted leg and extend your left arm up to the sky. Take several deep breaths holding the pose for 10 to 15 seconds and repeat up to 3 times to open your pelvic region, help stop heavy bleeding and relieve cramps.

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Wide-Angle Seated Pose
Sitting on the floor, take your legs wide apart, flex your feet and extend up through your spine. Place your hands behind you on the floor. Relax your shoulders away from your ears and gently draw your navel to your spine. Hold for 30 seconds then reach your arms in front of you and fold forward. If you're able, rest your head on the floor, your hands or on a pillow and breathe deeply. Hold this pose for 2 to 5 minutes to reduce agitation and regulate menstrual flow.

Reclining Bound Angle
Sit on the floor and lie down on your back. If you're using a pillow, place the pillow vertically at your sacrum and lie back over it. Put the soles of your feet together and let your knees and thighs fall out to the sides. Stay in this pose for 5 to 10 minutes breathing slowly and deeply to open up your pelvic area, relieve bloating, cramps, lower back pain and fatigue.

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