When struggling with our condition on a daily basis, it is so easy to be tempted to stay on the sofa. But did you know you are not helping yourself by doing that? The benefits of exercise for women with pelvic pain are so significant, you can’t really justify staying on that sofa any longer!
Here is why:
Exercise promotes circulation and releases endorphins, which are pain-relieving, ‘feel good’ chemicals manufactured in your brain. These naturally occurring hormones work like pain relievers to lower your pain; can you believe it only takes about ten minutes of moderate exercise for your body to start making these chemicals?
Exercise is thought to fight fatigue and boost your energy.
Exercise improves circulation. Moderate exercise gets our heart pumping and improves the blood flow to our organs. Good blood flow is important because our blood carries oxygen and nutrients to important body systems.
Regular exercise lowers the amount of estrogen in the body. Since the goal of endometriosis treatment is to lower estrogen levels, regular exercise may help improve our pain symptoms.
Because we spend a lot of time in pain, we often tense up and spend a fair bit of time curled up in bed and this causes our muscles to be tight and sore. Yoga is therefore a fantastic form of exercise for us. You can either join a class, or easily practice yoga at home. There are a lot of online tools that can help you (like YouTube videos and yoga websites). Or try ‘The Woman’s Yoga Book’.This book focuses on yoga practice that honours and relates to the female body. It teaches you observe your hormonal rhythms and to watch how they play out in the body and the emotions. This allows you to fine-tune your yoga practice to co-ordinate with your own unique menstrual pattern. Definitely worth a read.
But having said that, it honestly doesn’t matter what type of exercise you do; go for whatever you feel comfortable with, but most of all, do something you enjoy. Think about what you would like to achieve and set some realistic goals for yourself; focus on positives and gains. I personally try to go for a lot of walks, do some yoga, and I am following a 12-week exercise program to tone me up (I have to say I started this in October 2015 and have not yet been able to finish this yet due to pain levels going up and down every week. I have accepted this however and am happily progressing at my own pace. I know I will get to complete the program one day!).
I prefer to exercise by myself, but if you need the motivation, enlist an exercise partner. Sign up for classes together, commit to a brisk #endowalk three times a week, or even train for a 5k run. It’s much harder to skip out on a friend than it is to skip out on your own promise to exercise.
So, get up from that sofa and get moving! And be sure to share your #endoachievement through Instagram.