Earlier this week, while I was at soccer practice, it was evident that my performance was not up to my usual standards. I was defeated easily, and often couldn’t keep up with the rest of the team.
In my mind, I attributed my performance to “girl things,” which caused me to experience nausea and fatigue. It has always been a taboo subject among me as well as my friends. Consequently, I began to wonder if menstruation really does affect one’s muscle and kinaesthetic performance? If so, to what degree are the effects?
What is Menstruation?
Before delving into the effects, let’s understand the basics of the menstrual cycle.
Menstruation is the hormonal process a woman’s body goes through each month to prepare for a possible pregnancy. It is the process of women discharging a mixture of blood and other materials from the uterus at a monthly interval.
Besides from the bleeding, common symptoms of menstruation include:
- headache, stomachache
- pains in abdomens
- tiredness, mood changes, food cravings
- proneness to injuries
In a research study done by Lynn Roger, the director of the Neural-plasticity Laboratory at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, and her collaborators, she states that women may have a higher risk of tissue injuries, especially in the knee ligaments.
This is due to the changing levels of hormones involved in reproduction during the menstrual cycle. The two main hormones we are dealing with are estrogen and progesterone. The changing levels of hormone can also alter the body’s fuel, metabolism, and the body’s ability to handle heat. As a result, often times, athletes feel warmer and more fatigued during prolonged exercise.
After all, whether it is a curse or a myth remains unknown. However, there is definitely concrete evidence to support the fact that menstruation has an effect on a woman’s kinaesthetic performance. Personally, I found this topic particularly relatable and interesting as I am involved in many sports, and menstruation is something that I deal with. All this is to say that the next during a less than stellar performance, I can use this as an excuse…