These 5 Moves Will Soothe Your Worst Period Cramps
Aside from binge-watching The Bachelor on the couch, these exercises for cramps will help you recover ASAP.
Your head is pounding, your back has a constant, dull ache, and worst of all, your uterus feels like it's trying to kill you from the inside out (fun!). While your period cramps may be telling you to stay under the covers the entire day, it's exercise, not bed rest, that may revive you the most—and yoga is particularly effective in easing your pain.
"Yoga incorporates deep breathing, which helps relieve the effects of oxygen deprivation to the tissues, one of the main causes of cramps," says Suzanne Trupin, M.D., a gynecologist at the Women's Health Practice in Champaign, Illinois.
To erase your symptoms, spend five minutes working your way through these easy stretches and exercises for cramps, courtesy of Cyndi Lee, a yoga teacher who offers classes online. (ICYMI: You can eat your way to fewer cramps.)
Exercises for Cramps: Forward Bend
A. Stand with feet together and arms at sides.
B. Sink feet into the floor, inhale, and reach arms toward ceiling.
C. Exhale, bringing arms out to sides as you hinge forward from hips to touch the floor. If you can't reach the floor, bend your knees.
Hold for 1 minute.
Exercises for Cramps: Supported Half-Moon
A. Stand with your left side against a wall.
B. Slowly bend forward, bringing fingertips of your left hand toward the floor. At the same time, lift your right leg behind you to hip height.
C. Turn right to extend right fingertips toward ceiling, stacking right hip on top of left; place left palm (or fingertips) on the floor. Keep right foot flexed and breathe evenly.
Hold for 30 seconds. Switch sides; repeat.
Exercises for Cramps: Head-to-Knee Pose
A. Sit with legs extended.
B. Bend right knee and position foot on the inside of left upper thigh.
C. Inhale and lift arms overhead.
D. Then exhale and lean forward over left leg, resting forehead on thigh (or on a pillow).
Hold for 30 seconds, then inhale to sit up. Switch sides; repeat.
Exercises for Cramps: Wide-Angle Forward Bend
A. Sit up tall on the floor with legs extended as wide as possible (sit on a small pillow if this feels uncomfortable).
B. Inhale and bring arms out to sides and overhead.
C. Exhale and bend forward, extending arms out in front of you and placing your hands on the floor.
D. Keep kneecaps pointing toward the ceiling rather than rolling in toward you.
E. Bring forehead toward the floor (rest it on a pillow or block if you can't reach).
Hold for 1 minute.
(These flexibility tests may convince you to stretch more often.)
Exercises for Cramps: Reclined Bound Angle Pose
A. Sit on floor with a blanket rolled up lengthwise at the base of your back with a pillow on top.
B. Bend your knees to bring soles of your feet together, then slowly lay your spine back onto the blanket and rest your head on the pillow.
Breathe evenly and relax for 1 minute.
(Need a few more moves to ease your pain once and for all? Try these yoga poses for PMS and cramps.)