The menstrual period is a monthly event dreaded by women all over the world. Some experience menstrual pain so excruciating that it conflicts with other areas of life, so it is not surprising that many of us reach for the medicine cabinet to dull the agony and get on with our days. However, there is a more natural and wholesome way to ease the monthly pain.
Exercise is the most effective method for relieving menstrual cramps because it releases beta-endorphins, a natural pain killer. During a menstrual period, prostaglandins, chemicals associated with pain and inflammation, trigger the muscles in the uterus to contract in order to shed its lining, the main cause of pain. According to Gustavo Rossi, an obstetrician-gynecologist who works at Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington, the beta-endorphins released by exercise “help burn the prostaglandins.” In other words, they offer a counterattack for the pain-inducing chemicals.
Aerobic exercise, otherwise known as cardio, is great for increasing levels of beta-endorphins in your body. A study has shown that women who experience immense pain during their menstrual period typically have lower levels of beta-endorphins. These women have also shown a lower tolerance for pain, so working towards increasing the circulation of beta-endorphins is a good idea for women suffering from menstrual cramps.
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Exercising has many other benefits other than pain relief. It also decreases stress, prevents heart disease, and improves mood states. It has been found that those who exercise at least three times a day are able to maintain lower levels of anxiety. Not only does exercise provide relief from the agonizing menstrual cramps that many women experience each month, but it is also beneficial to both physical and mental health.
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