Your poor old period has a bad rep. Yeah, she makes you bloated, yeah, she cramps you up, and yeah, she basically causes an internal massacre one week out of four, but she's not causing all that fuss for nothing.
At the time, your period feels like the worst, but pain, blood, and tears aside, it's actually doing some great stuff for your body. Here are seven reasons why Shark Week is actually pretty super:
1. It makes you work out harder.
Thanks to a drop in estrogen and progesterone, your body has better access to the fuel it needs to smash a gym sesh during your period—so although it might not feel like it, it's actually the perfect time to do high energy workouts like HIIT. As exercise physiologist Stacy Sims explained to H , "The more active you are [overall] and more regular you are with your activity, the better your periods end up being—less cramping, less heavy flow."
2. It makes sex BETTER.
Studies have shown that women are naturally more turned on during the time of their period, and while it's kind of messy, the blood involved actually creates an awesome natural lube, meaning that period sex can be even more enjoyable than usual. Plus, having an orgasm releases endorphins, reduces PMS, and eases those killer cramps, so if you're not super attached to your nice white bedsheets…
3. It makes you age slower.
According to American longevity expert Thomas Perls, the reason women live longer than men could be because they lose iron every month—and iron is critical to the production of free radicals, which increase your chances of developing age-related diseases. He believes in his theory so much that he "mimics" menstruation by donating blood every two months, and while we can't vouch for that method, it's neat to think that your period could be kicking some scary illnesses to the curb, right?
4. It gives you tons of info about your health.
And it's not just preventative: that time of the month reveals tons of stuff about how your body is functioning, and if there's anything you can do to help it out. For instance, being overweight, underweight, or under extreme stress might prevent your period from arriving at all. If you do get it regularly, it's thought to be a sign that key areas like your hormones and thyroid are functioning as they should.
5. It's the ultimate excuse for self care.
A box of Krispy Kremes, your favorite pillow, and Magic Mike XXL on endless repeat. No matter how you fight back against your most dreaded period side effects, it is essentially a monthly reminder from your uterus to take a break and do something that you really enjoy, guilt-free. As long as you feel better at the end of it, the "laziness'" is totally a worthwhile investment.
6. It's an awesome way to bond.
If you've ever spent more than about 60 seconds in a women's bathroom, you'll know that nothing bonds two women like a gifted sanitary product at a desperate time. And if you're going to suffer, there is some kind of affinity in knowing that around 20% of the female population are suffering with you. We're not suggesting you wear a badge saying "I'm bleeding," but as you probably already know, sharing period horror stories and secret up-the-sleeve tampons really does seal a friendship like no other.
7. It lets you know you're not preggo.
Okay, so this one depends whether or not you want a bun in the oven, but unless you're actively trying, the first feeling upon arrival of your period (other than, you know, OUCH), is one of relief. Whilst it is technically possible to continue with your normal cycle throughout pregnancy, most of the time, a period is mostly just Mother Nature's way of saying "another month down, still not impregnated, praise hands emoji, you're welcome."