Exercise for Pain, PMS, & “Cycle Syncing”

Exercise and what is being referred to as “cycle syncing” has become increasingly popular and it is something women have asked me about before. Women want to know what is the best exercise to do based on the phases of their menstrual cycle or for their specific conditions like pain or PMS (pre-menstrual syndrome). As a Health Coach & educator I like to present evidence-based research.

Exercise & “Cycle Syncing”

Researchers from the School of Sport and Leisure in Portugal reviewed the existing knowledge (published research) on this topic to help optimize exercise prescription and nutritional intake according to the naturally occurring phases of the menstrual cycle. They published a review in 2021 in the academic journal ‘Nutrients.’ Based on all the research that has been done so far on this subject, it was concluded that the impact of hormones on exercise performance was variable and that there were very minor effects during the different stages. They found that there needs to be an “individualized treatment” because the relationship between exercise and the menstrual cycle phases varied greatly from woman to woman. The roles of female hormones are still being studied in how they affect exercise performance and how exercise affects the hormones in particular phases.

So all this to say is that there is not enough research on this topic yet to back up specific types of exercise to specific phases of the female cycle. The effects so far show to be minor and the best approach to exercise and the female cycle is one that is personalized to you.

A personalized approach to exercise and your cycle might look like this – doing activities you enjoy (dancing, walking, cycling, etc.), taking it easy during menstruation when you may feel more tired, and doing some gentle activities like stretching or taking a day or two of rest, doing less intense exercises when under stress or not sleeping enough, simply rotating between aerobic and resistance training or doing a higher intensity workout on days you feel more energized.

Exercise for pain & PMS

When it comes to pain and PMS research does support the effectiveness of aerobics and yoga movements in significantly reducing pain and PMS according to a study published in the Journal of Education and Health Promotion. Yoga was found to be more significant in reducing PMS symptoms compared to aerobics. Both however showed to be equal in reducing pain. Participants of the study did either yoga movements or aerobics for 40 min, 3 times a week for 1 month. So consistency and continuation of these activities over a period of time is key.

Another 8 week study in which 30 minutes of aerobic exercises were performed for 20 minutes, 3 times a week, also concluded that aerobic exercise could be used to treat PMS and reduce physical symptoms like headaches, nausea and vomiting, bloating, and hot flashes.

So you may want to consider adding some routine aerobic exercise to your week all month long to support menstrual cycle and hormonal health. It’s not just for women experiencing cycle issues – all women can benefit from regular physical activity.

If you do experience symptoms of pain and PMS and they do not improve with regular exercise or other lifestyle changes reach out for help. Tracking your cycle with a Fertility Awareness Method like FEMM and seeking Medical Management can help address and treat the root cause.

Need help finding or keeping your personalized exercise plan? Or maybe you want support in creating some exercise habits that become part of the healthy lifestyle you are looking for. Send me a message and let me know how I can help!

The health tracking tool every woman should be using…

What is the one tool that every woman of reproductive age should use to monitor her overall health? Hint… it’s not an electronic device.

It’s tracking hormonal bio-markers with what we call Fertility Awareness Methods – or tracking your cycle. But wait. Don’t stop reading just because you saw the word ‘fertility’ and said to yourself, “I’m not trying to have a baby.” It’s not about that. That’s only part of it.

Your health comes first. Fertility is second. You have to be healthy as to conceive. I am a single woman, not trying to have a baby, and I chart simply for health purposes. Because you see, the bio-markers you learn to chart reveal so much about your overall health. Not just your reproductive health. Your hormones act as chemical messengers in your body that communicate with your organs.

As women our reproductive system is what makes us who we are at our core. Our biological clock. Think about it. We get a cycle every month if our system is working properly. Which means we have a constant change in hormones. every. single. month. I know. It can be a pain sometimes. But it shouldn’t have to be.

Health problems can first show up in our cycles. And because the body is made up of systems that work together— circulatory (blood flow), respiratory (breath), digestive (nutrients), endocrine (hormones), reproductive (procreation)— if your main hormones involved in the reproductive process, estrogen and progesterone are off, then other organs in your body will be affected as well. Not just your reproductive system.

Estrogen and progesterone are not limited to involvement in your reproductive cycle. They also play important roles in bone formation and maintenance, blood vessel dilation, flow, and relaxation, blood clotting, blood sugar levels, sodium, brain cell stimulation, anxiety (may be why mental health problems are higher in women than men), sleep, and relaxation. Woah, right? They never told you that in your health ed class in high school.

So learning how to track your hormonal bio-markers through charting can reveal hormone imbalances which could be impacting other health concerns in women like pain, acne, headaches, anxiety, fatigue, insomnia, weight gain, hirsutism, and mood changes. Charting can also help doctors who use fertility awareness in their practice to identify underlying conditions of hormonal imbalance such as ovulatory dysfunction, polycystic ovaries, endometriosis, thyroid problems, infertility, menopausal disorders, and depression. Things that your regular OBGYN was never able or willing to diagnose.

We want to know why our hormones are imbalanced and correct that issue… not just cover it up with a “one size fits all” pill that completely shuts down our reproductive system, which means our other systems will be affected. It’s already widely known that the birth control pill is associated with depression but if it is suppressing estrogen and progesterone production think of all the other processes and systems impacted I mentioned above that those hormones are involved in as well, like bone formation.

When I came off the pill I discovered I had nutrient deficiencies that I had to address before my acne would get any better. Charting my cycle taught me that I needed to eat better, rest more, learn how to manage stress, and exercise – it taught me how to care for and love myself as I am, acne and all. And also that there are vitamins and medication beyond the “pill” that can help naturally regulate and get to the root cause of hormone imbalances if you find the right doctor. By “charting,” I’m not talking about entering the days you bleed into a period tracker app, which predicts ovulation and your next period. There are other important details that need to be tracked. But taking a fertility awareness class and using an app or paper chart specific to a method like FEMM (free app) has helped me to greatly understand my health and hormones.

So this is why I believe every woman should learn to chart. We have no way of knowing if our cycles are normal or not if we only have our own to compare them to and were never taught. I encourage you to continue to seek answers and doctors trained in FEMM if you feel like concerns you bring up with your OBGYN are being brushed off or covered up and to take a class and learn how to chart. It will give you a visual of your health and can help determine if you need further treatment.

Would you like to learn more about how to chart hormonal biomarkers, and create your own personal health record? FEMM classes are a great way to start. Or do you have questions about your cycle or need support along your health journey? Send me a message and let’s chat.



The Birth of Unknotted

Many of us look for healing throughout our lives. It could be physical, mental, or spiritual healing we seek. Often times, as I have found, these are all connected. The food we feed our bodies does not just affect us physically. Our mental and spiritual health are also impacted. And what we feed our souls and mind also impacts our physical health.

I searched a long time for physical healing and was so frustrated when I could not find it. No matter how perfect my diet was I could not achieve it.

The problem, I discovered, is that I was missing the big picture. When our stress levels are through the roof there is no way we can heal physically. When our mental health is not in check, and we struggle with anxiety and worry, and don’t get enough sleep or take the time to rest because we are in a vicious cycle, our bodies cannot heal. And when we place our trust in ourselves instead of God, we drown.

I believe without a doubt that the Lord want’s healing for you. It hurts him to see his children suffer. But He doesn’t just want to heal us physically. He want’s to heal us completely. Fully. Mind, body, and soul. And most of all want’s your heart.

It doesn’t happen overnight. In fact we will search for all sorts of healing throughout our lives. I don’t think we can ever get enough of it. And His way may look different that yours. But we can simply start my inviting Him into the process and taking care of the bodies, minds, and souls gifted to us.

And as we do, the “knots” in our lives will come undone.

Unknotted was inspired by the Our Lady Undoer of Knots devotion. Ask for her powerful intercession.

“The knot of Eve’s disobedience was untied by the obedience of Mary; what the virgin Eve bound by her unbelief, the Virgin Mary loosened by her faith.”

St. Irenaeus




Hi! Welcome to my site! My name is Rebecca and I am a Fertility Educator practitioner and Health Coach – which basically means I do a lot in women’s health. My own struggle with acne and hormonal irregularities is what led me to this area of work. When I first decided to come off the birth control pill over 5 years ago there wasn’t really anyone to help or tell me what to do/expect. All my Ob/Gyn could tell me was that things were probably just going to go back to the way they were before I began taking the pill.

Not the answer I wanted to hear. But her answer validated what so many women are starting to discover on their own – the “pill” is not a cure. It simply masks the underlying condition like a band-aid. And when you come off of it for whatever your reason may be – to start a family, you are tired of the way it makes you feel, or maybe you read an article about all the negative consequences it has on your health – you have an even greater problem to fix than you did prior.

My acne was out of control a few months post-pill and my cycles were all over the place. I had no idea what to do. I had been down the dermatology path in high school with no cure and was over it. So I did the only thing I knew to do. I prayed. And that led me to researching the connection between diet and hormone/skin health for a good chunk of my time right around and after I graduated college.

I spent countless hours doing google searches and watching YouTube videos on how people naturally cleared their skin and changed my whole diet – something that needed to be done because it was pretty poor prior. As healthy as I was eating though, it was also a very unhealthy, dark time in my life. Due to my type-A perfectionist personality, everything was centered around avoiding foods that might break me out and lot’s of guilt and anxiety when I wasn’t perfect with my diet. And eventually, when food alone wasn’t enough I turned to supplements – a big scary industry you can easily get lost in.

Glad to say I finally made it to the other side of all this. Because what I didn’t know then, that I do now, is that when you come off of the pill it takes time, lots and lots of time for things to get back on track and it can be more difficult to clear “post-pill” acne than “pre-pill” acne. And if you are dealing with post-pill acne there are certain vitamins and minerals you will probably need to supplement with that can be very helpful along with dietary and lifestyle changes.

So one of my goals for this site is to be a resource for all women whether you are coming off the pill, thinking about coming off the pill, or maybe you never even took the pill but are experiencing acne, PMS, or other hormonal/cycle irregularities. I want to share what I have spent the last 5 years studying and how you can find acceptance and balance in your health. So stay on the look out as there is more to come.