A missed connecting flight, lost luggage, or navigating your way around an unfamiliar environment can all add to the stress level of travel. “Travel can definitely alter menstrual habits,” Dr. Alyssa Deck, MS, MD, practicing gynecologist at Care Mount Medical in Westchester County, New York, told INSIDER.
“Stress operates by affecting your hypothalamus, which in turn, can affect all of your hormone levels.” Your circadian rhythm responds to lightness and darkness so when you travel through timezone, your body is actively trying to figure out how to get back onto its normal schedule, which might alter your period.
“With travel comes changes in general habits, such as diet, sleep, hydration, or exercise. My body just can 't fight the germs of a plane filled with coughing and sneezing strangers.
You may be eating different foods, drinking different water, and your regular habits of exercise and nutrition can be totally off.” That's valuable to keep in mind during ski trips or treks to high mountain ranges.
“If you are on the pill, the number one way travel can affect your period is if you forget to take it,” Dr. Moore told INSIDER. “ Be conscious of changes in timezone when taking your birth control pill at the same time every day.
If you're preparing for a big trip or are already living the life on vacation, don't fret about your period. Give your body time to adjust to changes in timezone, habit, or stress that accompanies travel.
Similar to other lifestyle change, traveling could have an affect your monthly period because your normal routine is disrupted, even though it’s a temporary occurrence. You could have problems such as delayed and missed periods because of stress, eating habits and more since the menstrual cycle hormones can be very sensitive to new things.
When you are traveling, especially to a faraway city or overseas, the time change will interfere with your normal internal biological clock or circadian rhythm. This is what is referred to as jet lag, and rapid air travel across various timezone scan lead to a number of problems.
From the frenzy of deciding what to pack, leaving home to reach your location to the time that you should arrive at the airport, traveling comes with loads of stress. On the other hand, traveling might involve walking for long hours on unfamiliar streets or climbing mountains, and these things can jumpstart your system.
Your periods could stop, or you may have missed cycles because of increased exercise routines and weight loss. It is not only the fluctuation in calorie intake that could affect your monthly period while you are eating everything around the world, or you start to forget breakfast suddenly.
You will be in new locations with new ingredients and menus that switches up the nutrients that you normally eat, so all these things are going to have an effect on how your body functions and feels. Bear in mind that these factors will affect different females in different way s. Your period might remain constant even though you are traveling all over the place, or it could go completely out of whack.
This will not guarantee that your period is going to remain unchanged, but you are sure to feel better and be less vulnerable to PMS symptoms that are more difficult to predict on irregular cycles. Just remember that jet lag, change in eating habits and stress are things that come with traveling and can cause a delayed or missed period.
Hormones released during stress otherwise harm the overall health, but when it comes to a period, they have a more evolutionary, primal role. Scientists explain this with the body's strategy to avoid pregnancy in an uncertain environment.
Stress can suppress the pituitary gland functions, affecting the production of estrogen, which in return disrupts the ovulation. You can trigger this body response even if you mentally feel good, excited and entertained if you're partying too much and sleeping too little.
Hormone levels during cycle shift as your body works to produce a fertile egg. Travel-induced stress, even positive, troubled sleep, and other sudden lifestyle changes, can affect this balance.
No one can predict how your body will react to these changes, but you can expect to have both early and late period. If the trip is long, or uncomfortable, or you're vacationing in a complete opposite climate than you're used to, it can affect the sleep quality.
A lot of people have trouble falling asleep when changing environments, and many also can 't sleep in high temperatures. Additionally, changing the climate to tropical/marine or mountain can also affect blood pressure and make you more groggy or agitated.
Most people abandoned healthy routines and enjoy leisure time on vacation, which only adds up to the “positive” body stress. Still, there are a couple of roles to taking birth control when you're switching timezone if you want to avoid getting pregnant.
If the time in which you're supposed to take the pill is extremely inconvenient, delaying one dose for a couple of hours shouldn't be a problem. Count in the jet lag and the climate change and do as much as you can to adapt to a new cycle before going for a trip.
Some people find it useful to spend a night awake before the trip and (if needed) sleep during the day, or on a plane. If you plan on enjoying the charms of local cuisine, at least make sure to schedule your meals as you normally do.
Teas, essential oils, special pillows, and music, or your favorite cover, will help you relax and fall asleep easier. If you want to avoid painful late periods, relax when you feel overwhelmed and exhausting, no matter how entertaining the experience is.
If you prefer to use a menstrual cup, make sure to have multiple ones at your disposal, along with a set of top-notch cleaning supplies. The best and the only way to preserve your usual menstrual cycle on travel is to avoid imposing stress on your body.
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For cycling, running and swimming, you’ll need to determine your lactate threshold by performing a 30-minute time trial (or one of these alternative tests). Once you have established your lactate threshold, you can input your target values (in terms of heart rate, power, or pace) into TrainingPeaks.
This will allow you to plan the intensity of your workouts to reach your goals without suffering burnout. You will also be able to accurately track your fitness, form, and fatigue using our threshold-based training stress score (TSS) and the Performance Management Chart.
You’ve probably heard athletes discussing their training zones when describing workouts. It’s easy to dismiss the zone chatter as just endurance nerd-speak, but you shouldn’t.
Many zone systems exist, but what (almost) all of them have in common is that they pick a parameter (like heart rate, power, or pace) and use it to describe varying degrees of workout intensity as a percentage of a threshold. If you know your threshold and corresponding zones, you can target specific intensities and durations for maximum physiological benefit.
The first step to configuring your training zones is figuring out your threshold. Every athlete will have a different threshold, and it is necessary for TrainingPeaks to calculate important metrics like Training Stress Score (TSS), which tells you how hard your workouts are.
Open the TrainingPeaks mobile app Click settings Click zones Choose either heart rate, pace, or power Enter your threshold value Choose ‘Calculate New Zones ’Click ‘more.’ Your new threshold and zones will be displayed. TrainingPeaks offers many zone systems based on various methodologies.
Below you can learn more about the original TrainingPeaks methodology behind zones, and how to adjust each for your preferred sport and parameter. Determine your lactate threshold heart rate (LHR) with a short test.
(Do not use 220 minus your age to find max heart rate as this is as likely to be wrong as right.) This LHR test is best done early in the Base and Build periods.
The more times you do this test the more accurate your LHR is likely to become as you will learn to pace yourself better at the start. TrainingPeaks allows you to calculate your heart rate zones for many endurance sports.
For triathletes, it is important to set your threshold for both the bike and run as your zones for each will be slightly different. Use the same 30-minute time trial test above for LHR to determine your FTP.
The road will generally give better results so long as it is relatively flat and free of stop signs and heavy traffic. Athletes that do not have a TrainingPeaks account can use the following zones from Training and Racing With a Power Meter, by Hunter Allen and Andrew Organ.
Determine your Functional Threshold Pace (FTP) using either a runner’s GPS device or an accelerometer. To do this, warm up and then run for 30 minutes just as described under “Setting Heart Rate Zones, Step 1” above.
Note that the TrainingPeaks Structured Workout Builder converts pace to speed behind the scenes, so those percentage guidelines are shown in parentheses. It may help to have someone on deck counting laps as it’s easy to lose track in such a test.