Should I Still Work Out If I Forgot My…

african american woman stretching in the gym( — So you showed up to the gym, all ready to get your calorie burning and muscle-building game on, only to discover that you forgot your gym shoes. Or your socks. Or your lock. Should you just give up working out for the day, or is there another solution?

1. Sports Bra

Forgetting your sports bra is enough to ruin any workout, and most women have definitely done this. But, before you give up and go home, know that there are workouts you can still do (but others that should always be avoided). Keep in mind that lack of proper support from a sports bra can cause pain, elasticity loss, and stretch marks. Wearing your regular bra, choose low-impact activities that are not going to cause much, if any, bounce. Weightlifting, yoga, and walking on the treadmill are all good bets.

2. Gym Lock

Never leave your belongings in an unlocked gym locker. Gym theft does happen, and when your things are stolen from an unsecured locker, most gyms will not cover the loss. While it may be annoying, bring your belongings with you onto the gym floor. Stash your bag next to the machine you’re working out on; if you’re taking a class, leave your bag against a wall where you can see it.

3. Shoes

Unless you are a seasoned barefoot runner, forgetting your shoes is a real pain. Shoes help to offer stability and support during workouts while also offering protection during weightlifting. Throw on a pair of socks and choose activities that don’t require a ton of ankle support or require your feet to move in a constant repetitive motion (like the treadmill). See if there are any group fitness classes that you can take like yoga, Pilates, and barre, where going barefoot is the norm. Another option is to wear the shoes you came in — if they are flats — and hop on a seated stationery bike or stair-stepper where feet remain still.

4. Socks

No socks, huh? If you’re already wearing a regular pair, then you’re just going to have to be that girl or guy on the treadmill in their trouser socks. But if you showed up sans socks, it’s time to change your strategy. While you can wear your shoes without socks, you’re likely to get blisters if you choose any sort of high-intensity workout — especially if you sweat a lot. To avoid stinking up your shoes and getting a bunch of blisters, choose to strength train for the day. Or, better yet, opt to take yoga or pilates.

5. Pants

Well…unless you’re with a friend who packed an extra pair, you should probably just go home. But notice that we didn’t say don’t work out! Once you’re home, change into your workout gear and do a home workout, including following a fitness DVD, lifting some dumbbells, or going for a run or walk outside.


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Menstrual Cycle Warning Signs

As you’ve probably known for a while now, menstruation is the monthly shedding of your uterine lining. Though it can be uncomfortable and sometimes inconvenient, your period is your body’s way of telling you that your reproductive system is working properly.

Just as every woman is unique, every woman’s period has its own personality. Some periods are short, others are long. Some are heavy, others are light.

After a few years’ worth of monthly bleeding, most women start to get a feel for their period’s frequency, duration, and flow. When something out of the ordinary happens — such as spotting between periods or an exceptionally heavy flow — it’s natural to wonder what’s going on.

Is There Such a Thing as a Normal Period?

Not really. The average woman’s menstrual cycle is 28 days long, and the average period lasts for three to five days, but there can be huge menstrual cycle variations from woman to woman.

“Three days is normal for some women, seven days is normal for others,” says Franklin Loffer, MD, executive vice president and medical director of AAGL (formerly known as the American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopists). Similarly, the normal period flow can be heavier in some women than in others.

Rather than worrying about the length or frequency of your period, you need to consider whether anything has changed.

“A woman should really be tracking her own menstrual cycle, because it provides huge numbers of clues about whether something’s not right,” says Frances Ginsburg, MD, director of reproductive endocrinology at Stamford Hospital in Stamford, Conn., and assistant professor of clinical obstetrics/gynecology in the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

Here are some common menstrual period changes, and what they might mean.

I. Your Period Has Slowed or Stopped

The big question if you’re not getting your period is — how old are you?

The cause of a missing menstrual period (called amenorrhea) varies by age. “To quit having periods at age 25 is a significantly different issue than quitting at age 50,” Loffer says.

For a woman in her 20s or 30s who is sexually active, pregnancy is always a possibility. “Even if a woman thinks she’s protected, that’s not an absolute guarantee,” Loffer says.

On the other hand, women in their 40s or 50s could be in perimenopause — the period surrounding  menopause. As your ovaries slow their estrogen production, periods become less frequent. Periods also can get shorter or lighter during perimenopause. Once your periods stop for a full 12 months in a row, you’re in menopause.  The average age for menopause is 51.

Another possible cause of missed periods is excessive exercise. Anywhere from 5% to 25% of female athletes work out so hard that they stop getting their periods. Called exercise-induced amenorrhea, this phenomenon is particularly common among ballet dancers and runners. Intense exercise affects the production and regulation of reproductive hormones involved in the menstrual cycle.

For similar reasons, women who have eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa can also stop getting their period. Severely restricting the amount of calories you eat suppresses the release of hormones your body needs for ovulation.

Other possible causes of missed periods include:

• Thyroid or pituitary gland disorders
• Disorder of the hypothalamus (brain area that assists with reproductive hormone regulation)
• Breastfeeding
• Obesity
• Oral contraceptives (although birth control pills will usually just make the periods lighter, rather than stopping them entirely)
• Stress
• Polycystic ovarian syndrome and other hormone imbalances
• Ovarian failure (the loss of normal ovarian function before age 40)
• Disease of the uterus (womb)

II. Your Period Is Heavier Than Normal

Most women only shed about 2 or 3 tablespoons of blood each month. Those with heavy periods (menorrhagia) can lose 5 or more tablespoons of blood monthly.

When you bleed excessively, you lose iron. Your body needs iron to produce hemoglobin, the molecule that helps…