by Lisa Simpkinson
June 22, 2022

Hormone fluctuations over our monthly menstrual cycle play a vital role in our body’s responses. In each of the four stages of our menstrual cycle, we experience differences in mood, appetite, libido, cognitive function and energy.

Studies have shown that aligning our life with our cycle helps us to maintain optimal health and avoid overwhelm, injury, fatigue and even illness. If you’ve never tracked your cycle before, there are dozens of period apps available so you don’t need to guess. 

Infradian Rhythm

The infradian rhythm is our internal timekeeper that influences brain, metabolic, immune, stress, and reproductive functions. Women are cyclical by nature so by knowing our infradian rhythm we can work with the monthly peaks and troughs during each of the stages.

The Four Menstrual Cycle Phases

Our menstrual cycle has four key phases, which are governed by varying levels of hormones. The timeframes are a guide and differ from woman to woman (and change throughout our menstruating lives):

  • Menstruation phase: days 1–5
    The bleed, which can last from 3- to 7 days. Progesterone levels plunge and energy will likely be low. We can experience cramps, nausea, headaches and fatigue.
  • Follicular phase: days 6–14.
    The pituitary gland releases a hormone called Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH), prompting your ovary follicles to mature. Oestrogen and testosterone start to rise during this phase. Energy levels increase and mood improves.
  • Ovulatory phase: days 15–17.
    Egg release time! Oestrogen and testosterone peak, boosting the follicular phase. Hair and skin look and feel great. We tend to be our most clear and confident in this phase and the libido receives a boost.
  • Luteal phase: days 18–28
    It can feel similar to the ovulatory phase until oestrogen and testosterone decline and progesterone takes over. Then begins a natural winding down where we tend to withdraw. Common symptoms include craving carbohydrates/comfort foods, bloating, breast tenderness, headaches, anxiety and moodiness.

The Mat App has classes designed to suit every stage of your cycle.

Pilates for Every Phase of Your Cycle

If you’re not experiencing pain it’s fine to continue with your usual Pilates if you’re feeling up to it. Make any adjustments you might need, such as anything that targets the lower abdominals which may not feel good during this time.

A Pilates class at every phase is beneficial because:

  • It’s carving out some “you time” 
  • Increasing your heart rate improves oxygen flow and boosts metabolism
  • Your building muscle and bone strength
  • Breath focus can help reduce stress, minimise cramps, pain and mood swings 
  • Pelvic floor work can move stagnant blood and relax tight pelvic muscles that contribute to menstrual cramping
  • You’ll feel great afterwards and your confidence will grow the more regularly you practice

Women’s health is central to The Mat Apps philosophy. From motherhood to menopause, our classes are designed for every life stage. With an array of classes on-demand, see why more women are turning to The Mat App for Pilates.