How Tracking Menstrual Cycles through Tech is Driving Success
The best menstrual apps that will help you stay in shape and have a better productivity, read our article for more detailed information!
The year 2019 will be remembered as the year when women in sport became a little more mainstream than in previous times. The USA women’s’ football team won the World Cup, which was hosted by France and the BBC screened all the games on free-to-air channels in the UK.
Crowds have been steadily increasing at football matches and some Premier League football teams even allow the women’s team to play at the home stadiums of the men’s side. The fact is: women are getting a lot better at their sport – a fact seen in the high standards of the soccer’s summer World Cup 2019.
One of the reasons why they are getting so much better at their chosen sport is down to technology. The success of the women’s Team USA in winning the World Cup, could partly, have been attributed to a simple app.
The app tracks the menstrual cycle of every player. It also links the individual’s training regime and diet. Many of those involved in women’s sport are baffled as to why this has not been thought of before.
It is no secret that confiding in coaches, trainers and even teammates about the detrimental impact of the menstrual cycle has been an uncomfortable topic. Particularly, if the coach happens to be male.
Top female tennis players have openly admitted that some of the shock defeats suffered are directly linked with the timing of the menstrual cycle. In some cases, the cycle can cause the onset of an injury like a hamstring pull or groin complications.
During this critical stage in a female athlete’s career, the hormones fluctuate wildly. It can cause training exercises to be dysfunctional and performances to become well below par. In team sports, some athletes may have not revealed the onset of a menstrual cycle, for fear of not being selected for an important round of games.
Fitbit Can Track the Link between Performance and Menstrual Cycles
Female health trackers, built in to a Fitbit app, have helped several athletes to compare the connections between sleep, fitness levels, performances and general activity. All this data is measured against the time when the menstrual cycle is taking place. Then the overall impact can be much more closely monitored.
When a female athlete exercises, she will show varying energy levels. It all depends on which stage the menstrual cycle is at. But not all women feel affected by a menstrual cycle. Some can feel strong throughout the entire monthly cycle and others simply don’t.
Read also: Top 5 Fitness Technology Trends in 2019
Athletes Now Have a Clue
As well as the Fitbit monitoring the health of a women on a daily basis, another app called Clue will monitor exercise and energy levels throughout the period. The more data that goes in, the better the understanding of how the cycle is affecting the performance levels of both amateur and elite sportswomen.
Should I Stretch and Workout Lightly, or Strength Train?
The app Clue will find some days are better than others for strength and energy levels. When energy levels are higher, an athlete should strength train. When energy levels are reading lower, she must take up light training and stretching. Remember, the more data inputted, the more accurate the app becomes.
The app has already been in use among the top sportswomen in the US. The football, swimming and athletics sides are all using the data and performances are showing positive results. The app is intuitive and easy to input key data.
An athlete needs to enter details of the last menstrual cycle. The duration of the cycle, any symptoms, what diet was taken during this period and any training activity performed. The app will then come up with this raw data and turn it into something like a personal trainer.
It recommends things like what you should eat (and when), which training exercises to do and a detailed explanation of what is happening to the females athlete during this time period. The information can be shared with coaches, so they can optimise training schedules for the individual.
Monthly movements in female hormones can affect the mind, as well as the body. Some athletes think and feel differently and not always in a good way. A tennis player, for example, must have her mind on the game as well as her body.
At the very top level, critical decisions are made in a split second: Does she drop the ball at the far right back of the court, or should she spin the ball and back it close to the net?
It is worth pointing out that any information – particularly data this sensitive – is only shared with coaches and fitness experts with the permission of the athlete. The data is being crunched with such sophistication, it can even note when there is a higher chance of injury, because of the cycle at its critical juncture.
An example of this is also found in some of the fitness apps that informs an athlete which food to eat at certain times. The blood sugar levels can change rapidly during menstruation and this demands athletes choose meals with plenty of protein.
The Four Phases of the Menstrual Cycle
An app, FitrWoman, goes deep into the menstrual cycle and even advises on diet, exercise and choices to be made during each of the four phases: that of the menstruation, the follicular phase, ovulation and the luteal phase.
Each phase should be treated differently when training in sport and without tracking the specific data, an athlete would not know the best course of action to take when attempting to become an elite sportswomen.
Technology is now playing a huge role in allowing us to tweak training regimes and diet to fit around the menstrual cycle. The difference is key. It is also rumoured the Soviets and East Germans took the cycles in to consideration when training gymnasts before the Cold War ended. The difference in this data now could be down to that one per cent performance enhancement that wins you a gold medal or just the silver.