As a female adventure enthusiast, have you postponed or canceled your kayaking trip because of the menstrual cycle? It is obvious that kayaking involves lots of splashing and fun in the water and during periods that might be a little problematic. But is it feasible to lose out on such fun for your periods? Well, the answer to this is no. You don’t need to cancel your kayaking trip even when you are on your period. You might have some minor problems, but if you know the tips and tricks of handling them, you can enjoy kayaking to the fullest even during menstruation.
I Am Taking Training For Kayaking – Will That Affect My Menstrual Cycle?
Many women take training for kayaking so that they can have a better experience when they go for the adventure activity. They have a doubt in their mind if such training programs or alterations in workout regimen impact the menstrual cycle or not. Doctors opine that training for kayaking has no effect on the menstrual cycle. It might happen that you skip your dates after making some changes in the workout regimen, but the reason for that might be something different. However, the safest option is to get a checkup done.
Many women report lighter periods when compared to their normal periods after some kind of new training program. This is a clear indication of the fact that you are exerting excess pressure on the body. Another reason might be a lack of proper food intake during training. It is important that you make proper balance and change in the exercise and training schedule so that your menstrual cycle returns to normal.
Is Kayaking Possible On The Heaviest Days Of The Menstrual Cycle?
The heaviness of flow varies from one day to another during the menstrual cycle. In the initial days, the flow is heavy and it recedes with time and then stops. Generally, this is the pattern that remains consistent in almost all the months. Suppose you are planning to go on a kayaking expedition and you know the dates, you can adjust your trip in your menstrual cycle’s last days. Going kayaking in the initial days of your cycle might keep you a bit uncomfortable. Though most women do all chores during the whole of their menstrual cycle, kayaking will need extra effort and strain. There is no use in putting extra pressure on your body during this time.
Will The Sharks Know If You Are On Your Periods!
It is difficult to say whether this is a fact or a myth. If you have the experience of kayaking in the ocean or sea, you will come in contact with various creatures like sea lions, orcas, and even sharks! It is said that sharks have a very strong sense of smell. Even if there is a single drop of blood in the water, sharks can detect that.
It is said that sharks are not interested in attacking women who are on their menstrual cycle. But it is definitely scary for the others, who are on the same kayak. Make sure that you check shark warnings if you have plans of kayaking in any sea/ocean. But this does not mean that you shouldn’t kayak if you are on your periods in the sea/ocean.
What Are The Types Of Kayaks Used For Kayaking Generally?
We all know that kayaking is a water sport and hence a wet sport. There are mainly two kinds of kayaks – sit-on-top kayaks and sit-in-kayaks. It has been seen that sit-in-kayaks are a better choice with women who go kayaking during their periods. Wear a comfortable spray skirt and take a sit-in-kayak and you will remain dry and comfortable for a long period of time. Using sit-on-top kayaks will make you wet quickly.
Managing Period Symptoms Including Cramps During Kayaking
Cramps are very common during periods and almost all women face them in varying intensities. While kayaking, you have to paddle and this strains the abdominal muscles. When you are already in pain, this additional pain might seem to be too much. However, the relieving fact is that the paddling movements actually help in loosening up the tight muscles in the abdomen, reducing cramping significantly.
Aerobic exercises and some mild physical activities help in alleviating the painful sensation too. If the cramps are more, try wearing heating pads below the swimsuit so that the tense muscles are relaxed. Cramps will also not stop you from swimming in case your kayak turns upside down and you have to swim to the nearest boat.
Fatigue and headaches are faced by many women during the menstrual cycle. Make sure that you sleep well before the day of the adventure. Eat a light but nutritious breakfast, keep yourself well-hydrated and ensure that you have proper sun protection in place.
Delaying The Menstrual Cycle For Kayaking
Different kinds of pills are available in the market, which actually helps in delaying the menstrual cycle so that you can enjoy kayaking in the best manner. But these pills are not always safe and suitable for all women. If you plan to use any such kinds of pills, it is highly recommended that you seek proper consultation from a doctor. Use the pills only when really necessary; otherwise, it is better to refrain from using such pills.
The Best Clothing For Kayaking While On A Period
While choosing clothing for kayaking, keep into consideration things that protect you from the natural elements. The women hygiene products that you use should be supported by the clothing. Light pants, swimsuits, t-shirts, etc. are common apparels for kayaking. For periods, choose dresses that are dark in shade. Waterproof shorts, pants, or period-proof underwear are also quite useful for keeping you dry. During winters, you have to use extra clothing, which actually helps during your menstrual cycle.
Important Feminine Hygiene Products Which Can Be Used While Kayaking
If you notice closely, you will find that every woman has her preferred set of hygiene products. However, when you are kayaking during your period, it is important that you explore various kinds of hygiene products so that you get complete protection and coverage from discomfort and leaks.
Mentioned below are some products, which you must try:
- Menstrual Cup – These are flexible cups that are used for holding the menstrual blood. The product has to be removed for cleaning. Many women opine that menstrual cups hold blood for a longer time when compared to tampons. Therefore for long kayaking trips, menstrual cups are a great choice. It takes a little time to get used to menstrual cups. So, it is recommended that you practice using it before you go kayaking.
- Sanitary Pads – These are the most preferred choice for women during their menstrual cycle. You can always wear a pad during kayaking, but there are high chances of it getting wet during the adventure. You might get splashed with water or might fall out of the kayak and get wet completely. Wearing waterproof clothing is one way of combating this problem.
- Period-proof underwear – This acts as a set of all-in-one pads and underwear. With period-proof underwear in place, there is no fear of the adhesive pad losing its sticking power when it gets wet in water. These are eco-friendly, reusable but not waterproof.
- Tampons – Whether you are paddling or swimming, tampons are the safest option. These are available in different absorbencies and compact styles, making them easy to carry anywhere you go. Do not wear tampons for more than 8 hours.
What Would You Do If You Face A Leak During Kayaking?
Despite taking all precautions and safety measures, period leaks happen. There might be a sudden increase in blood flow due to increased activity levels leading to a leak.
If you see experience a leak, you can do the following things:
- If you are wearing dark clothes, hop into the water and clean the mess
- Change your clothes and wash the soiled ones in water if you are on-shore
- If you don’t have the option of cleaning right away, put them away in a separate bag till you can do laundry.
Dispose Of The Waste Products Properly On Your Kayaking Trip
Never throw away the disposable hygiene waste products in the water or bury them in the ground. Keep plastic bags or tight containers handy into which you can put the waste products. Throw them in proper trash cans or where garbage is disposed of. This helps in avoiding pollution and keeps the environment clean.
Now that you have enough ideas about how you can handle your periods while kayaking, don’t restrict yourself indoors. Go out, enjoy kayaking and forget period woes. Wear the right clothes, take necessary supplies and you are ready to rock!
Arthur G. Moore is a veteran paddler. He has over 10 years of whitewater kayaking experience in his kitty. When he was young, he used to love kayaking in rapid III and rapid IV but as time went on, he decided to concentrate mainly on covering long distances on a standard touring kayak. He is currently working as a senior editor for Kayak Manual.