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The Four Phases of the Menstrual Cycle

Your menstrual cycle isn’t just a period, then nothing, then another period. It’s a hormone-driven cycle that breaks down into four phases:

Menstruation

The menstruation phase starts on the first day of your period and it can last up to 7 days, but it’s usually shorter than that. Depending on your cycle, you can expect it about every 21-35 days.

At the start of menstruation, your estrogen and progesterone levels are at their lowest, which can sap your body of energy. As your estrogen levels rise, PMS symptoms start to subside, and your body starts producing serotonin. That means a better mood, less discomfort and more energy. This is a great time to set a meal plan, because higher estrogen levels suppress your appetite, leaving you with fewer cravings.

Follicular

Next up is the follicular phase, which lasts from the first day after your period until ovulation.

During this phase, your estrogen levels stay on the rise to prepare your body for ovulation and fertilization. The increase in estrogen actually helps with strength and endurance, so it is a good time to shoot for PRs!

Ovulation

Ovulation is the third phase of your cycle and happens about 10-23 days after your period. This is the phase when your body releases an egg for fertilization, making it the ideal time to try for a baby. A lot of factors can change your exact day of ovulation, but tracking can give you a pretty good idea of your fertile window.

Did you know that, according to the American Journal of Sports Medicine, you are four to eight times more likely to injure your ACL in the middle of your cycle? Make sure you warm up before and stretch after your workouts to improve your flexibility and stay agile.

Luteal

The luteal phase is the fourth phase of your menstrual cycle and happens right before menstruation.

At the start of this phase, your body releases estrogen and large amounts of progesterone to get your body ready for a fertilized egg. If there isn’t a fertilized egg, those hormone levels drop. This is the time in your cycle that you might experience the joys of PMS, especially if you’re sensitive to progesterone. Try some breathing exercises, yoga or meditation to help manage your symptoms.

If you want to see how your body, emotions and training change throughout each phase, start tracking your menstrual cycle in Garmin Connect. Not only will you get to see trends develop, but you’ll also get predictions, reporting and more as you track.

Check it out now under Health Stats in Garmin Connect and download the Connect IQ™ app to a compatible watch1.

1Compatible devices: Forerunner® 245 Series, Forerunner 645 Music, Forerunner 945, vívoactive® 3, vívoactive 3 Music, fēnix® 5 Plus Series; compatible devices coming soon: Forerunner 645, Forerunner 935, fēnix 5 Series, fenix Chronos

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