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Women Perform Better in Sporting Activities During Periods: Study

According to a study, athletes who are menstruating tend to react more quickly and make less mistakes. 241 women’s reaction times, attention spans, accuracy, and spatial cognition were measured using tests that replicated the mental processes involved in team sports – 14 days apart.
They believed that their performance would decline and felt worse when they were menstruation, yet on average, women performed 12% quicker when moving balls and were 25% more likely to pass an exam that tested their anticipatory skills.

It may help to explain why, between ovulation and menstruation, women who play contact sports are more prone to injuries during their luteal phase, according to University College London researchers.

The study, carried out in collaboration with the Institute of Sport, Exercise & Health and published in the journal Neuropsychologia, according to lead author Dr. Flamina Ronca, was “proof of principle” that this was connected to hormone fluctuations during the menstrual cycle.

“What we’re seeing is that the reaction times are a bit slower in the luteal phase and that fits with the fact that we’re seeing a greater incidence of of injuries,” she explained. Women go through the following during the luteal phase:

  • a decrease in oestrogen, which activates certain brain regions.
    • elevated progesterone levels, which can decrease reaction times and impair cognitive function

It is during menstruation that these alterations start to reverse. “We wondered if injuries could be a result of a change in athletes’ timing of movements throughout the cycle,” according to Dr. Ronca.
She also hoped that the findings will allow women who play contact sports to modify their strategy in accordance with their menstrual cycle.

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