The Best Time Of Day To Exercise For Hormone Balance

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Does your exercise preference seem to change with the moon? One day you're racing down the running path, the next you're snoring through child's pose? While a variety of factors go into why our bodies want to exercise in some ways more than others, including how much we're sleeping and what types of foods we're eating, one huge factor in this puzzle is hormones. And if we don't honor our hormone levels, our bodies will protest, leaving us with massively spiked cortisol levels or without the energy to work out at all.

We went to Alisa Vitti, our resident hormone and period expert, author of WomanCode and founder of The FLO Living Hormone Center for answers.

During the follicular phase: Go for a run.

The follicular phase starts on the day your period ends, and it's the time when the follicles in the ovary mature, preparing for ovulation. "Do cardio midday or in the afternoon during follicular phase," says Alisa. "Estrogen is low and cortisol levels are good."

If you can pop out of the office to get some cardio in midday, great! If not, hitting the treadmill after hours will be just as beneficial and keep your hormones in balance.

When you're ovulating: Exercise early.

Take advantage of all that energy you have during the ovulation phase and set your alarm for an hour earlier than usual. "Morning workouts are easiest during ovulation, as you have access to testosterone. You're ovulating, you're full of energy, so early morning workouts are the way to go," Alisa explains, noting that this is also the case during the first half of the luteal phase.

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During the luteal phase: Head to the Pilates studio.

As Alisa noted above, go for early morning workouts during the first half of the luteal phase. But once you've settled into it you may start to feel more bloated (think PMS symptoms), so Alisa suggests doing Pilates or strength training in the early evening of the luteal phase.

She also recommends practicing yin yoga (a restorative yoga style) before bed at any point in your cycle. This may be particularly beneficial toward the end of your luteal phase if you're feeling crampy, bloated, or a bit emotional.

When you're menstruating: Go for a walk.

When you're on your period, walk it out. You've probably heard that mild exercise is one of the best ways to relieve cramps, but even if you're not experiencing discomfort, menstruating is a time to go easy on yourself. Walk home from work or take an evening stroll with your partner—your body will thank you and your hormone levels will be just right.

If you want to start scheduling your workouts according to your cycle, be sure to download the MyFLO app.

Want more Alisa wisdom? Find out what she has to say about breakouts, bikini waxes, and orgasms.

And are you ready to learn more about how to unlock the power of food to heal your body, prevent disease & achieve optimal health? Register now for our FREE Functional Nutrition Webinar with Kelly LeVeque.

Alisa Vitti

Alisa Vitti is a women's hormone and functional nutrition expert and pioneer in female biohacking. Alisa is dedicated to helping women understand how to get their hormones to work without medication and break free from the menstrual mythology that prevents them from optimizing their health and lives. She is the best selling author of the much loved purple period book, WomanCode, and creator of the Cycle-Syncing® Method—a female centric diet and lifestyle program that leverages hormonal patterns for optimal health, fitness and productivity.As the founder of The FLO Living Hormone Center, she has built the world's first menstrual healthcare platform that has helped hundreds of thousands of women around the world put their period issues like PCOS, Fibroids, Endometriosis, and PMS into remission naturally using her highly effective FLO Protocol and the FLO Balance Period Supplements.Finally, Alisa is also the creator the MyFLO period app—the first and only functional medicine period tracker and cycle syncing tool that teaches the user why they have each symptom, and what to do get rid of it naturally, while encouraging diet, exercise, and a lifestyle that are in sync with their cycle.A graduate of Johns Hopkins University and the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, Alisa has been featured on The Dr. Oz Show, Lifetime, and has been a regular contributor for Cosmo, Harper’s Bazaar, and Women’s Health. She has served on the wellness council for Yahoo Health, MindBodyGreen and Well & Good. She is also an advisor to several health and health tech startups. She has presented at SXSW, TEDx, Talks@Google, Summit Series Outside, Cycles&Sex, WIE Symposium, and SHE Summit and regularly trains women in the workplace on how to use her Cycle Syncing Method for greater creativity, productivity, and wellbeing at work. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.
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