6 surprising benefits of tracking your periods
Boost your workouts, your productivity and even your social life
Once upon a time, keeping tracking of your periods was simply a case of marking a red dot in your diary and hoping it came around the same time the next month. But these days, thanks to technology, it’s easier than ever to track your cycle. And it’s worth it, too. From boosting your sex life to supercharging your workouts, planning your diary around your cycle is not as bonkers as it sounds. Here are six surprising benefits.
NB: Your menstrual cycle is measured from day one of your period up to day one of your next menstrual cycle – the length of the average menstrual cycle is 28 days.
If your sex life could do with a bit of a boost, the second week of your cycle could be the perfect time to spice things up in the bedroom. “In weeks two and three, your testosterone and oestrogen levels are on the rise,” explains medic Dr Dawn Harper. “This is the time when women find it easier to achieve intense orgasms, so if you’re planning a dirty weekend away, this is the time to book it.” You don’t need to tell us twice.
Syncing your actual cycle with your next Psycle class could bring you major gym gains. In week two, just after your period, the increase in oestrogen in your body means you have more energy and a higher tolerance for exercise. But week three is when the combination of oestrogen and progesterone in your body makes it much more efficient at using fat for fuel. “You’ll get a better fat burn for the same amount of exercise than you would at the end of your cycle, so it’s a great time for HIIT workouts,” says Dr Harper.
Stay on top of your fitness gains with activity trackers like the new Fitbit Versa, which not only tracks things like your workouts and your sleep, but also your menstrual cycle. Schedule reminders to prompt you about when you’re about to start your period with the new Female Health Tracking feature.
Looking for your next promotion? Tracking your menstrual cycle can even help you win at work. According to Dr Harper, women tend to feel more productive and eloquent during week two of their cycle. During week three, however, you might want to steer clear of any demanding presentations. “Your oestrogen and testosterone levels will slump after ovulation. Studies have even shown that some women can be less erudite and articulate during this phase, so consider planning your work commitments around this,” she says.
Arranging cocktails with the girls? You might want to swerve week four of your cycle. “The week before your period is when you’re most likely to feel tired and sluggish, so don’t pack your diary with dinners and drinks every night — make sure you’re getting enough me-time,” advises Dr Harper. Then, look forward to your oestrogen (a mood lifter) and testosterone (an energy booster) levels rising once again. “A few days into your period, this combination of hormones should start to make you feel more sociable again,” Dr Harper says.
Whether you want to get pregnant, or are trying to avoid it, tracking your cycle is growing in popularity as a legitimate way of managing your contraceptive choices. For most women, your most fertile window falls between 12 and 16 days before your period starts, and the least fertile are the days after your period ends.
As well as knowing when to take a step back socially, knowing your cycle can also help you sleep better. On the run up to, during and just after the week of your period, your body temperature rises and you experience less rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, so you may feel like you’re struggling to catch those zzzs. “Restless sleep is common around this time, when you’re probably also feeling bloated and icky,” says Dr Harper. To help, limit caffeine after midday, exercise in the morning over the evening and stick to a consistent bedtime to help regulate your body’s circadian rhythm.
From: ELLE UK