Let me guess…
You have endometriosis and you are looking for different ways to manage endometriosis pain.
You’ve tried everything – diet, supplements, natural treatments.
But something is missing in your life.
You need to be more active. You miss being active.
What if even the smallest movement makes you pain.
You know it’s important to slowly get back to daily and usual movements.
That’s why you are thinking: Can exercise help endometriosis?
You try to run. You try to go back to the gym.
You try really hard but you feel like everything you do makes you feel terrible.
You know you have to keep going, but how? How do you exercise for endometriosis and get back into your life?
You need to start slowly.
Because regular exercises can help you manage endometriosis symptoms.
Exercising with endometriosis may feel like the last thing you want to do when you’re dealing with pelvic pain and cramping, but staying active may actually help relieve endometriosis pain.
Let me show you how!
Endometriosis and Exercise: The Couch Is Not Your Friend!
Endometriosis get worse when you don’t move!
Exercise is often difficult for people suffering from chronic pain but endometriosis gets worse when you don’t move.
You don’t have to go to the gym or run a marathon; walking or swimming may be sufficient.
Regular exercise has been associated with a 40%-80% reduction in risk for endometriosis in several case-control studies. However, women experiencing symptoms prior to their diagnosis may be less likely to exercise than healthy controls, thus biasing the observed association.
Pain and fatigue are two primary symptoms of endometriosis; exercise is thought to have the potential to alleviate these symptoms. However, fatigue and pain might also keep a woman from exercising.
Exercising with endometriosis – my experience:
My exercise routine has been evolving over time with endometriosis. At one point (before knowing I have endometriosis), I was hitting the gym at 6 am but I was crashing from exhaustion by mid-day.
Sometimes I was so much in pain that I was not able to stay focus at work. I’m still working on being more active, but I’ve pretty much got the exercises for endometriosis that are best for me down.
Whilst some of us are capable of doing amazing things with our bodies despite endometriosis, I find that using a gentler approach suits me best.
The Hidden Benefits of Exercising with Endometriosis Nobody Tells You About
Exercising with Endometriosis takes effort. Chronic pain and feeling tired makes it difficult to do physical activity, but research shows that exercise:
- releases pain-relieving endorphins.
- promotes circulation, delivering oxygen and nutrients to your body.
- decreases the estrogen in your body that endometriosis is dependent on. It’s worth the effort!
How Exercise Can Help Endometriosis
Sometimes the last thing you feel like doing when you’re in a whole lot of pain is exercising, but it can help in a multitude of ways. Here’s why:
- Regular exercise can help you manage symptoms.
- Regular exercise can help relieve muscle, back, and joint pain. It also improves sleep quality and increases energy levels.
- Regular exercise is often recommended to endometriosis patients after surgery, however, you’ll need to speak to a physiotherapist or medical professional who fully understands endometriosis to devise a post-surgery exercise plan.
Living with chronic pain can cause your nervous system to became overactive and high on alert. Your body becomes increasingly sensitive. If you stop being active you may feel pain after every simple movement.
That’s why exposing your body to movements that cause mild discomfort in a relaxed, safe and controlled environment might be very helpful. By doing this you are telling your body that movement is not a threat.
Done correctly, exercise will not aggravate endometriosis
So long as you start out slowly and increase gradually over time, there is no reason why exercise should make your symptoms worse.
- Exercise improves blood flow.
Exercise will improve blood flow, sending more nutrient-rich blood to painful areas, helping to improve circulation and reduce pain
2. Exercise lowers estrogen.
Endometriosis is driven by estrogen. Exercising actually lowers estrogen levels in the body, helping to relieve the symptoms of the condition.
3. Exercise helps with inflammation
Endometriosis is an inflammatory condition so anything we can do to help decreases whole-body inflammation is helpful. Research shows that as little as 20 – 30 minutes a day of moderate-intensity activity, such as brisk walking or swimming, can have anti-inflammatory effects.
How to Create an Exercising Routine that Doesn’t Hurt You
We all know exercise is good for us, but it’s also something that feels good to do once we get going with it.
Movement cannot only help us feel better physically and mentally, but it has the capability of helping us see our bodies in a different light too.
What is The Best Exercise for Endometriosis
1. Start Slowly and be Sure Your Muscles are Lengthened and Relaxed
When making your daily exercise routine be sure to start with a warm up.
But first, 5 minutes of deep breathing and relaxation.
2. Make more low-impact exercises
But research shows low-impact exercises, like walking and swimming, may help. And endo pain decreased in people who did the following 3 times a week:
- Posture correcting exercises
- Diaphragmatic breathing
- Lunges and squats
- Relaxation and muscle awareness
- Stretches for back and pelvic floor muscles
- Walking for 20 minutes
3. Strength & core exercise
Focus on slowly rebuilding lower back strength and core control with progressive Pilates movements and basic pelvis floor exercises.
In addition to this focus on a whole-body strength workout performed 2 days per week which focuses on posterior chain exercises.
After you’ve warmed up and again after you’ve finished your workout, make sure to stretch tight areas.
Running doesn’t feel good to me with endometriosis. Instead, I try to get out for a walk every day.
Walking increases endorphins levels in the body, that not only combat stress and depression but also help to relieve pain.
Getting your heart rate up and breaking a sweat helps to rid your body of endometriosis-causing toxins and increases oxygen flow to your entire body.
A brisk 30-minute walk can do wonders for your overall health, but go at your own pace, it should be enjoyable. Take a walk with a loved one to boost those “happy hormones” even more!
Yoga is something that I’ve just recently started getting into, and man, do I wish I would’ve tried it sooner.
It’s really helped me to stretch out my abdomen, strengthen muscles, and reduce my pain levels. It’s the best kind of low-impact stretching for us gals with endo, in my opinion, and I’ve really been enjoying it.
I like to exercise according to where I am in my cycle. Whilst I practice yoga at any time, I up it during my pre-menstrual phase and menstrual phase as it’s gentler and helps alleviate some of the PMS symptoms I experience.
I’ve been searching for videos on the internet to follow so I can practice yoga in the comfort of my own home. So now, I start my day (if I can of course) with this short yoga routine:
I also use yoga as a form of pain relief.
When I’m on my period, I use YouTube and follow the free routines for period pain to help me work through it:
Starting out, I researched yoga poses that would help me with what I needed (the Endometriosis Foundation of America has some great ones). Right now I’m in practice mode and am just learning the key poses—it’s a fun new adventure and I’ve really been enjoying expanding my knowledge during this phase.
No, you don’t need to go to a dance class.
You can just dance while cooking or preparing your morning tea.
Turn on your favorite music and shake it 🙂
I’m dancing in the kitchen almost every day and I feel fantastic.
Exercises to Avoid with Endometriosis
When it comes to this there are no hard and fast rules. We are all different and the severity of the condition and our symptoms vary widely from person to person.
Anyway, keep in mind these:
Sit-ups and crunches
High-impact exercises eg. Running/burpees
High-intensity workouts such as circuit training or intervals.
Abdominal exercises such as crunches, or sit-ups. Most of the time these muscles are in spasm and overly tight from constant pain.
Just Listen to Your Body!
I’ll be 100% honest.
Some days my body is in too much pain and I’m not able to be as active as I’d like.
My tip for days like that? Listen to your body and do what you can.
Even if you’re just able to do a 10-minute walk around your neighborhood, it will still help.
Exercise helps to boost your endorphins and reduces stress hormones—it also helps to reduce inflammation.
So that walk, even if you’re only able to do it for 10 minutes, will work wonders.
Get the picture out of your mind of you sweating in the gym, just for now. Start small and work your way up—your body will thank you. My active journey is slower than others: I take my time, I’m intentional about my movements. You know what? That’s okay! Some days I only get out to take the dogs for a walk, but it’s still helping me to build upon what I did yesterday and the day before that. So get out there and get active in your own way!
It’s important to find the type of workout that appeals to you and that you can do comfortably, and talk to your doctor about it. Your doctor can advise you as to whether you’re on the right track with a safe exercise plan that won’t aggravate endometriosis symptoms like pelvic pain.