Jessica Ennis-Hill has spoken out against the pressure to 'slog your body' through over-exercising.
In an exclusive piece published in today's Telegraph, the Olympic gold medallist said women face social media pressure to feel 'the burn' by working out everyday or following intense exercise regimens. But, she says, rest days are so important for the body.
'A lot of my friends train every day, but even when I was an elite athlete I didn’t do that, and I still don’t. It’s so important to rest your body, and to value different types of exercise in different phases of your [menstrual] cycle,' Ennis-Hill wrote.
The former world champion heptathlete wants women know how to tailor their workouts to their menstrual cycle, which is why she's launched CycleMapping – a new app to help track hormonal changes and suggest workouts accordingly.
'I want all women to understand their bodies,' Ennis-Hill wrote. 'To understand that whether you’re an elite athlete going through your "testing" phase and feeling fatigued and bloated, or an everyday woman wanting to head out for a run and tackling menstrual symptoms, there is a way of managing your cycle.
'Women shouldn’t have to feel like they need to push through the pain. Knowing your cycle helps you to recognise how you’re feeling, and – instead of feeling overwhelmed by it – empowers you to tailor your training, and your life, around that.'
She was also candid about her own experiences managing her period, from 'the stress of competing across two days in the heptathlon, worrying about having to wear tiny pants' to the 'menstrual migraines' that came on after having children.
Like lots of women Ennis-Hill didn't make the link between the headaches and hormonal fluctuations until she started to track her cycle. Now she is able to manage them better.
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