9 Summary of Session 2
You should now have an understanding of the phases of the menstrual cycle and how the changes in hormone levels impact on a female’s energy and mood, as well as their energy levels and motivation for exercise.
The main learning points of this second session are:
- 60% of sportswomen reported that their athletic performance was affected by their period while 40% said they do not feel comfortable discussing their period with their coach.
- The menstrual cycle involves fluctuations in hormones, including oestrogen and progesterone, across a period of between 21–35 days but typically 28 days.
- The menstrual cycle is a vital sign of health as it impacts on reproductive function, energy, mood, bone health and cardiovascular function.
- Due to an individual’s differing level of hormones and their sensitivity to the hormones each female will have a different experience of their cycle.
- Athletic performance, in terms of power, strength and aerobic endurance, are not impacted by the fluctuations in hormones across the menstrual cycle but changing energy levels and symptoms, such as pain and bloating, can affect a female’s ability to exercise and their motivation levels.
- Research suggests that strength and high intensity training are most effective if performed in the follicular phase, which is between days 1–14 of the menstrual cycle.
- Tracking the menstrual cycle is an important means of improving body literacy and preparing for training and athletic performance.
In the next session you will explore hormonal contraception and assess the impact it has on the female and their athletic performance.
You can now go to Session 3.