Overall, periods are a pain in the gut. During the time of the month... you’re often too uncomfortable to do much of anything, let alone work up a sweat. But maintaining your workout schedule during your period isn’t as horrible as it sounds, and can actually be beneficial (especially if your PMS did the grocery shopping). Here are some pros and benefits to working out on your period.

Working out helps ease cramps
Exercise releases beta-endorphins into your body, which are your naturally produced pain relievers that help burn the chemicals that cause muscle contractions (your cramps). So while the pain makes you not want to move, getting active will actually help. Sweating also causes water to leave the body, so you’ll be reducing that uncomfortable bloat as well.

It’s the best time for HIIT
Turns out that when your period starts, the hormones estrogen and progesterone drop and your body is able to access carbohydrates/glycogen easily. So when you’re on your period your body has easier access to fuel, allowing you to go much harder on short and fast-paced workouts. If you’re feeling up to it then, a workout like HIIT is a great choice.

Low hormones=low body temperature
The drop in hormones also lowers your body temperature, which means it’ll likely take your body longer to get tired. This is also a great time to try hot yoga, since you’ll be more tolerant to the heat. Be careful doing any inverted poses, as they may cause the blood vessels in your uterus to expand and bleed more (so more cramps).

Overall boost
When you’re feeling sluggish but also just can’t sleep, the best thing to do is get up and get moving. The first 10 minutes won’t be great, but the movement will increase your body’s overall blood flow and engage your heart muscles. You’ll get energized and then once you’re done, you’ll be tired enough to rest.

Remember that if you’re really feeling awful, give yourself a break and listen to your body. If you’re experiencing very painful cramps or severely heavy flow that’s keeping you from your daily activities, be sure to talk to your doctor or health care practitioner.