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You know something that is extremely uncomfortable? Trying to wear a thick pad to a kickboxing class because your flow is at its heaviest and you just know that a tampon won’t be able to keep you from having an embarrassing leak. Not only do you look and sound like you’re walking around in a diaper, but a pad twisting and turning with you just doesn’t feel like silk on a girl’s bottom while doing all those high kicks covered in sweat. Ick.

Working out on your period while trying to deal with the more uncomfortable symptoms (the cramps, lack of energy, the heavy flow, the bloat) can be tough, but that doesn’t mean you have to interrupt your regularly-scheduled program and stay in the house on the couch eating sweets or salts instead. In fact, studies have found that women on their period feel better when they get moving. So how can you keep going hard and not be slowed down by your menstrual cycle? Here are five things to keep in mind:

Change Up Your Workout

You might want to slow up on the fast-paced workouts and opt for something a little less aggressive–like yoga (be careful with inversions, though…). Of course, it’s a slower-paced workout, and experts say that exercises requiring you to lie on your stomach are helpful regarding cramps. So poses, like bow pose, child’s pose, and even reclining twist pose can go a long way.

Change Up Your Protection

Experts highly recommend products like the Diva Cup. And these days, menstruation-absorption underwear seem to be all the rage as well, especially since the creators behind Thinx underwear include former female athletes who know what it’s like to struggle to play Division I sports while on your period. But if you aren’t entirely comfortable with things like that, many women hit their local workout facilities with a tampon and pantiliner on. Double the protection may not mean double the comfort, but at least you have double the peace of mind.

Go For Comfortable Clothes

Dress in dark colors, of course. And while tights are all the rage at the gym, you don’t want to wear anything that will make it oh so obvious that you’ve had an accident if you do happen to leak. Also, super tight bottoms can just make you feel like your lady business is suffocating. Looser pants can help with both issues, as well as looser tops, which can help you deal with a tight, bloated stomach.

Increase Your Water Intake

Throwing back the water can not only help you deal with cramps but also keep you from feeling especially faint or dealing with the headaches that can sometimes come about when your period starts.

Know When To Sit Down Somewhere

Yes, you should work out on your period. It helps you deal with issues of fatigue and gives a sluggish body that boost of energy. However, there is a difference between working out when you’re feeling like you’d rather just couch potato it up, and trying to force yourself to work out when you feel like crap. If your cramps are debilitating and you literally don’t have much energy, give your body the rest it’s seeking. But if you are determined to get moving, taking some ibuprofen and going for a light walk could do a bloated body good.

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