I used to hate running. It’s tiring, and no one is chasing us, so where are we going? However, this form of exercise seems to manage my endometriosis symptoms very well, and that’s the main reason why this couch potato is now (slowly) running several times a week.
Just a couple of years back, running felt like torture. My entire body would hurt; pain radiated from my uterus and spread to my legs. The first times I went jogging ended in tears, with me yelling at my partner in frustration because it hurt so much. However, on Sunday, the day after my period — once I stopped feeling dizzy and nauseated — I went on a 6.5 km (4 miles) run all by myself. I’ll probably run two more times this week. I’ve been doing this for almost a year now.
Running has become a thing I must do to manage my endometriosis. Even slow, short-distance runs are a healthy, cheap practice that can help in the following ways:
It can regulate sleeping patterns
The more you run, the more you will sleep, especially if you go for evening jogs. This is very helpful if you suffer from chronic fatigue, insomnia, or interrupted sleep due to fluctuating body temperatures.
It can reduce menstrual pain
My mother used to tell me to run up and down some stairs to get rid of period cramps. While I’ve come to realize that while this only works with mild to medium levels of pain, being active while on your period is a natural painkiller as effective as any med.
It can support mental health
As you expend energy and focus on breathing, your heart rate is regulated and “happy hormones,” also known as endorphins, are released, which helps with anxiety. Some experts reckon you need to run for at least 40 minutes to get those hormones pumping.
Finally, and quite personally, the most important benefit that comes from running is that it helps with the depression and anger fits I experience during PMS. It’s almost like I am running away from my problems, with music in my headphones and my mind set on covering a good distance. All I can do is focus on getting one foot in front of the other and checking that my breathing is OK — my brain barely has space for anything else. I get home exhausted, hungry, and with little energy to overthink or worry about anything.
Running is not for everyone, but if you can jog slowly or cover just a small distance, you’ve got it. It can do wonders for your health, even if at such a slow speed that it is more akin to walking.
I intend to keep it up for as long as I can, even if snails overtake me. Listening to Beyoncé while breathing in some fresh air has become one of my new favorite things, and for an endometriosis mess, duvet-hugger like myself, that’s a huge achievement.
Note: Endometriosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Endometriosis News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to endometriosis.