Research Publications on Aerobic Exercise for Menstrual Health

These studies collectively demonstrate that regular aerobic exercise significantly improves physical and psychological symptoms associated with premenstrual syndrome (PMS), including pain, mood disturbances, anger, and depression. Findings across different age groups and exercise intensities indicate that exercise, particularly aerobic, can be an effective non-pharmacological treatment option for managing PMS symptoms, with benefits observed in both athlete and non-athlete populations.

Effect of exercise on premenstrual symptoms: A systematic review; Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 2020; Link

This systematic review aimed to explore the impact of exercise on premenstrual symptoms, drawing on a broad range of international databases including EBSCO Host, ScienceDirect, PubMed, and Google Scholar, with a search window up until 30 April 2018. The findings suggest that exercise notably improves both physical symptoms—such as pain, constipation, and breast sensitivity—and psychological symptoms, including anxiety and anger, associated with premenstrual syndrome (PMS). While the effect of exercise on other PMS symptoms remains less clear, the overall evidence indicates a symptom-reducing benefit. Consequently, exercise emerges as a valuable and effective strategy for mitigating premenstrual symptoms among women suffering from PMS.

Aerobic exercise, mood states and menstrual cycle symptoms. J Psychosom Res, 1994; Link

This study focused on the impact of regular, moderate exercise on mood states and symptoms across the menstrual cycle in two groups of women: 97 regular exercisers and 159 non-exercisers. Participants responded to the Menstrual Distress Questionnaire (MDQ) and the Differential Emotions Scale (DES-IV) during premenstrual, menstrual, and intermenstrual phases. The findings, based on Multivariate Analyses of Covariance (MANCOVAs), highlighted significant positive effects of regular exercise on reducing negative mood states and physical symptoms associated with the menstrual cycle. Specifically, regular exercisers reported significantly lower levels of impaired concentration, negative affect, behavior changes, and pain compared to non-exercisers. However, no significant differences were observed between the two groups in terms of positive affect and some other physical symptoms. This suggests that engaging in regular, moderate exercise can be beneficial in mitigating certain negative aspects of the menstrual cycle, particularly mood disturbances and specific physical symptoms.

The effect of eight weeks aerobic exercise on psychological symptoms of premenstrual syndrome; Nursing Practice Today, 2017; Link

This study aimed to assess the impact of a regular 8-week aerobic exercise program on the psychological symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) among 65 dormitory students at Mashhad University of Medical Sciences. Participants were selected through available sampling and divided into an intervention group, which undertook aerobic exercises three times a week for 20 minutes each session, and a control group, which did not participate in the exercise program. The study measured psychological symptoms of PMS at the beginning and end of the study period using daily symptom records. Results indicated that, post-intervention, the intervention group showed significant improvements in four out of ten psychological symptoms measured: anger outbreaks, loneliness, irritability, and mood swings, with mood fluctuations showing a significant difference when comparing pre and post scores between the two groups. This suggests that an 8-week aerobic exercise program can effectively reduce certain psychological symptoms of PMS, highlighting the potential of incorporating regular aerobic exercise into treatment plans for managing PMS symptoms.

The effects of aerobic exercise on premenstrual symptoms in middle-aged women: a preliminary study. J Psychosom Res, 1993; Link

This study examined the impact of aerobic exercise and strength training on premenstrual symptoms in 23 healthy premenopausal women. Assessments were made at the start and after three months of participating in either an aerobic or non-aerobic (strength training) exercise program. Findings indicated that women in the aerobic exercise group significantly improved their aerobic capacity, unlike those in the non-aerobic exercise group. Overall, both forms of exercise led to improvements in many premenstrual symptoms, but the aerobic exercise group saw more comprehensive benefits, particularly in reducing premenstrual depression. This suggests that while both aerobic and strength training exercises can alleviate premenstrual symptoms, aerobic exercise may be more effective in addressing certain symptoms, including depression.

Effect of two intensity of aerobic exercise on clinical symptoms of premenstrual syndrome in fertile women; Middle East Fertil Soc J., 2012; Link

This study explored the impact of different intensities of regular aerobic exercise on the clinical symptoms of Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS). It was a semi-experimental investigation involving 90 women with an average age of 27.1±10.96 years, all of whom reported symptoms of PMS such as negative mood, discomfort, and edema, and had no history of any disease. Participants were divided into three groups: a high-intensity exercise group, a moderate-intensity exercise group, both consisting of 30 members each, and a control group that did not engage in any exercise. Over a period of three months, with sessions held three times a week, symptoms were reassessed across all groups. The study employed MANOVA for statistical analysis and found that symptoms of PMS significantly decreased in both experimental groups post-exercise, with no significant difference in the level of symptom reduction between the high and moderate-intensity exercise groups. Importantly, Body Mass Index (BMI) was found to have no impact on the incidence rate of PMS. The findings suggest that regular aerobic exercise, irrespective of intensity, is beneficial in alleviating the symptoms of PMS, highlighting its potential as a non-pharmacological treatment option.

The effects of 8 weeks of regular aerobic exercise on the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome in non-athlete girls. Iran J Nurs Midwifery Res., 2013; Link

This study aimed to investigate the impact of 8 weeks of regular aerobic exercise on Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) symptoms in non-athlete girls. Conducted at Khorasgan Azad University with 40 participants aged 18-25 diagnosed with PMS, the research utilized a quasi-experimental design. Tools such as the DSM-IV premenstrual symptoms form, GHQ 28, and Beck Depression and Anxiety questionnaires were employed, alongside a 4-month symptom diary. The experimental group engaged in 60 minutes of aerobic exercise three times weekly. Assessments at the beginning, middle, and end of the study period indicated significant reductions in PMS and related symptoms within the experimental group, with statistical analysis confirming the effectiveness of the intervention (P ≤ 0.001). Consequently, the study concludes that an 8-week aerobic exercise program can significantly alleviate PMS symptoms, suggesting its potential as a therapeutic option.