When you're dealing with menstrual cramps, the last place you want to be is at the gym. But, working up a sweat does help alleviate cramp-related pain: “Aerobic exercise prompts your body to release endorphins,” explains Michelle Lovitt, fitness expert and strength-and-conditioning coach for ASICS. Endorphins are feel-good neuropeptides that provide a natural "high."
“Cardiovascular exercise that raises your heart rate to at least 65% of your max is the best activity to help relieve cramps,” says Lovitt. This moderate level of intensity hits the sweet spot, helping to stimulate circulation without being so vigorous that you feel completely wiped out. Workouts that fit the bill include going for a jog or taking a power yoga class.
The Office on Women’s Health also notes that 150 minutes of medium-intense activity per week can help prevent future cramps (of course, every woman's body and symptoms are different, so work within your limits).