We all strive to be physically fit and agile, and as such, swear by regular workout sessions. While daily exercising is known to keep one healthy — physically and mentally, exercising too much may have negative implications. Amenorrhea or missed periods is one such side-effect of over-exercising, nutritionist Bhakti Kapoor said.

“You’ve lost some weight, and you’re dedicated to shedding those last 10 pounds. So you step up your workout, hitting the elliptical machine four to five days a week for 45-minute increments. You’re watching calories, too. And then suddenly, you skip your period. Is this normal?,” she asked, in an Instagram post.

While many people, during athletic training, believe that halting of their menstrual cycle is normal, it is not! “It can indicate a serious problem with your diet,” Kapoor said.

Explaining further, she added that “when your body doesn’t have enough energy to keep your systems humming, it shunts energy away from non-essential ones like reproduction and growth, including building bone. As a result, the hypothalamus, a region in the brain, slows or stops the release of the hormones that control ovulation.”

The expert listed three ways to avoid missed periods due to too much exercise.

*No real rest days can increase the chances of missed periods. “Scheduling in times you can rest during your week and giving yourself the grace of not doing anything” is essential, she suggested.
*Constant calorie deficit diet is not helping your problem either. The expert said, “Focus on more nourishing meals”.
*Focus on your health more than your looks. “Your period is missing and that is not healthy – no matter what you ‘look’ like.”

The changes in your menstrual cycle may be subtle or extreme, depending on how your body reacts to increased activity level. “Exercise itself doesn’t cause menstruation to stop. It’s the mismatch between energy consumed and energy used, resulting in what’s called low energy availability,” she concluded.

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