A few preliminary studies have found that regular exercise can ease some of the pain and stress that you may have each month during the week or two leading up to your period. In one trial, researchers at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver had eight previously sedentary women work up to running 12 miles per week over six months. At the end of the study, the runners reported less breast tenderness, bloating, and moodiness before their periods. Six normally active women who did not increase their level of exercise felt no changes in their usual premenstrual symptoms.
Another study found that women who exercised regularly felt less pain and depression before their periods than nonexercisers. Unfortunately, no studies have looked at how exercise might help women with severe premenstrual syndrome, a clinical disorder in which women find themselves plagued each month by pain, headache, cramps, depression, and fatigue, among other symptoms.