Hormones have a funny way of making their presence known in our bodies. Much of the time, we recognize hormone changes on an emotional level. We sometimes blame them for our issues - mood swings, headaches, even just feeling “off”. But knowing our hormone patterns can also help us live our best lives! Hormones like estrogen and progesterone can affect energy levels. Understanding how the highs and lows of these hormones impact energy, can help you approach activities with more knowledge about what’s going on with your body so you can adjust and perform at your best!
Estrogen and progesterone are the two main hormones present in your cycle. Estrogen is the dominant hormone before ovulation. This hormone is produced by growing follicles and is highest right before ovulation occurs. What does estrogen do? Estrogen is responsible for an increase in cortisol and testosterone levels, which naturally increase energy levels. Progesterone is the hormone that is dominant AFTER ovulation and is what prepares the uterus to receive a fertilized embryo. Progesterone typically starts to rise after ovulation around cycle day 16 and usually stays elevated through cycle day 28, in regular cycles. When progesterone levels are high, your mood is more balanced and present. Things are calmer and slower than in the first half of the cycle when estrogen is dominant. Think of estrogen as the hyperactive cheerleader, whereas progesterone is the cool, down-to-earth sister.
Estrogen is the Star - First half of the cycle
You may be wondering, what hormone gives you energy? You’re on day 5-15 of your cycle and you’re feeling a little more energized than usual. This is because estrogen is kicking into high gear! Estrogen and energy levels go hand in hand. Use this hormone surge to your advantage and try some of the following exercises.
Running or Speed Walking
Running, jogging, speed walking or any kind of cardio is perfect for when estrogen is high. Your body feels more activated and can push through harder cardio routines during this time. Plus, cardio is great for getting that endorphin release, helping you to feel happier and healthier.
If you like to move heavy weights, now is the time to do so! Estrogen boosts strength and circulation, allowing your body to work at its max potential. Go for the heavier weight with lower sets during the follicular phase and lighter weights with longer sets during your luteal phase when progesterone is queen.
Progesterone Takes Over - Second half of cycle
The Luteal Phase occurs after ovulation and is usually cycle days 16-28, in regular cycles. This is when progesterone flows from the follicle that released the egg during ovulation. Progesterone and energy levels that are high do not go together. High octane activities are not recommended during the luteal phase. This is the time for reflective, calming, creative activities that boost your sense of well-being.
You probably guessed this was coming! Yoga is awesome for when progesterone is elevated. Plus, yoga can help relax the muscles and stretch out those estrogen cardio-aches-and-pains. Plus, yoga can help provide a much needed center during all the holiday madness when stress threatens to break the calm barrier.
Baking and Cooking
Holidays or not, this is a great way to decompress while your progesterone is high. Chopping up some onions or fresh basil in a warm kitchen, just going with the flow, is another great, chill activity during your luteal phase.
Our hormones are important to fertility, but also for so much more. The power of hormones like progesterone and estrogen can greatly impact your mood, attitude, and entire outlook on life in a very small amount of time. Understanding what your hormones are doing at any given time can help you optimize your activities and also provide a powerful heads up about how you may feel.