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Supporting female performance in sport and fitness
Supporting female performance in sport and fitness

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Session 2: Demystifying the menstrual cycle


If men had periods menstruation would become an inevitable boast-worthy, masculine event: men would brag about how long and how much.

(Gloria Steinem, 1978)

At the start of this session you will hear from Manchester City and England footballer, Steph Houghton, about an initiative by the English Institute of Sport (EIS) to increase understanding of female health issues like the menstrual cycle. This shows that progress is being made in addressing female health issues and that it is increasingly being seen as an important topic in optimising performance of female athletes.

The image shows products related to the menstruation – sanitary towels and pads, pills, a calendar and pen, an alarm clock and a cap.

In this session you will develop your understanding of the menstrual cycle and the hormones involved including exploring the impact it can have on exercising females. You will also see how females can manage symptoms and consider adapting their training accordingly.

By the end of this session, you should be able to:

  • understand the physiology of the menstrual cycle and how it can be experienced by women
  • identify the potential impact of the menstrual cycle on training and athletic performance
  • appreciate how female athletes and coaches can manage menstrual cycle symptoms and optimise performance.

Watch this video where Steph Houghton explains the research collaboration between Manchester City and the EIS: Periods in sport [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .