For a long time, the menstrual cycle was considered a bit of a messy, inconvenient business – a hindrance that women just had to put up with. In both science and sport, the attitude was much the same. But over the past decade or so there’s been a rising tide of interest in actually figuring out how a woman’s monthly cycles impact her performance. Now, from Megan Rapinoe’s World Cup-winning US football team and the Chelsea women's squad to the elite dancers of the Scottish Ballet, female athletes at the top of their game are using the insights of endocrinology (that's the science of how hormones work) to train around their cycles in order to perform better - and this week, we’re looking at how you can, too. Women’s Health’s fitness writer Morgan Fargo is joined by Dr Nicky Keay, a sports endocrinologist who conducts clinical research into this very area and applies those findings to her work with athletes. From knowing when to push yourself and when to ease off the intensity to the best cramp-quelling exercises for when you’re actually on, here’s what you need to know in order to get the most out of your workouts – all month long.
Follow Dr Nicky Keay on Twitter: @NickyKeayFitness
Follow Morgan Fargo on Instagram: @morganfargo
Follow Women's Health on Instagram: @womenshealthuk
Your menstrual cycle, explained
How to choose a PMS-friendly workout
The time of the month when your hormones support challenging workouts
Why period tracking is important for monitoring fitness goal progress
Your choice of contraception and how it impacts your performance
What the perimenopause means for your fitness levels
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