We’ve all heard about how important our circadian rhythm is for the healthy function of our immune system, mood, sleep, and gut health. But there’s a new catchword doing the rounds in women’s health that promises to drastically improve our bodies, minds, and moods: the Infradian Rhythm. Katherine Maslen, naturopath, host of the Shift and founder of Shift Clinics explains: “The infradian rhythm is unique to women and it involves the release of hormones at various stages of our menstrual cycle. Your infradian rhythm governs how you might feel day-to-day.” Experts in this arena have noted that women’s brain chemistry changes up to 25% during the course of a month. No wonder you can feel great one week and pretty average the next!
Most women know how it feels during menstruation to want to snuggle on the couch with chocolate and your favourite series reruns. It can feel like a natural slowing down period where the thought of intense exercise or a hectic social calendar can feel overwhelming. As your period draws to an end, your oestrogen levels increase (follicular phase), and you’ll notice an uptake in your mood and energy. This can be a great time to try that HIIT workout or increase your gym attendance. During the ovulatory phase is the ideal time to try something new as you notice an increase in your confidence, plus your libido will normally be at its highest during this time due to all the reproductive hormones. Lastly, the luteal phase is when your body is preparing for a new cycle so you may notice your PMS symptoms popping up. Try including Magnesium and iron-rich foods in your diet plus gentle exercise such as Pilates or yoga which are well suited to your body's needs during this phase.
If you’re looking to try a new way of training, eating, and socialising according to your infradian rhythm, Katherine believes it’s vital we learn to work with our cycle to get the best results. “Men can do the same workouts every day and reap the same benefits. For women, however, we may find that doing HIIT in our follicular phase is fine, but when we do it leading up to our period it depletes us of energy. This can vary woman to woman, however, when looking at how to schedule your weeks there are some rules that may help,” she says.
Take a look at Katherine’s tips for working out, eating, and supporting your emotional wellbeing according to your cycle:
Ready to make the change and live according to your cycle? Head to Katherine’s website The Shift Clinic to find out more about tracking your cycle or take a look at Flo Living, created by women’s hormone expert Alisa Vitti. The research is clear, once you understand your hormonal shifts, you’ll no longer be a slave to them and can truly harness your hormonal power!