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Clumsy and Reduced Coordination

Some individuals struggle with reduced coordination or feeling more clumsy in daily activities or specifically with sport and exercise, this can be frustrating.

What phase of your menstrual cycle do you experience clumsiness?

Clumsiness or reduced coordination are most likely to be experienced in the luteal phase, before your period (depending on the length of your cycle).

Late Luteal Phase

Causes of clumsiness during your menstrual cycle

A contributing factor could be related to perceived lethargy and fatigue due to reduced serotonin levels during the late luteal phase, this is related to reduced estrogen levels.

When it comes to your muscles

Estrogen makes your muscles fire more quickly and with more force. So, when you’ve got a lot of estrogen, your muscles are like a sports car revved up and ready to go.

Progesterone, however, slows things down a bit. It makes your muscles contract more slowly and with less force. So, when there’s more progesterone, your muscles are more like a car cruising at a steady pace.

Overall, estrogen amps up your brain and muscles, making them more active, while progesterone calms things down, making them less active. This balance between the two hormones can affect how smoothly your muscles move and how strong they feel.

The changes in progresterone during the luteal phase can change your muscle contractions and make you less responsive…sometimes your muscles don’t respond quick enough to not walk into the door frame (yes it’s not just you!).

How to manage clumsiness

Practice balance skills throughout your cycle, single leg squats, single leg balances…this helps ‘switch on’ your muscles. Why not do this whilst waiting for the kettle to boil for a cuppa or whilst cleaning your teeth!

For physical activity and sport, increase your warm up length and include activation exercises during the week before and during your period – focusing particularly on isolated muscle activation before gradually increasing movement complexity and intensity. Speak to your coach or trainer to get help with this.

Monitor volume of training the week before your period to avoid excessive fatigue or further challenge of coordination. Allow more rest time between sets of exercises if needed. Ensure carbohydrate intake is adequate to provide energy to assist your muscles to contract.

Work on reaction times pre-training particularly if this is something that is important to training in a team (e.g. goal keeping).

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