The field of women's hormonal health and exercise has experienced a revolutionary change thanks to technology. So long an under-researched and unexplored area, attitudes have shifted in recent times, fueled in part by high-profile female athletes speaking openly about their experiences in training and competition.
Now, several resources are available to women seeking support for how best to train and feel their best during each stage of their menstrual cycle. One of the leading apps in this area is Jennis, which helps users harness their hormonal health. Take a look at what the app does and how to use it for your health and fitness.
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What Is Jennis?
Jennis is the creation of British Olympic heptathlon champion Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill. It was inspired by the athlete’s experiences in having to adapt her own training regime during her pregnancy with her first child.
The Jennis app provides personalized guidance on fitness and nutrition for women, enabling them to use their hormones to their advantage by exercising in different ways at different times during their menstrual cycle.
On the Jennis website, Ennis-Hill explains, "I launched Jennis to show that by talking openly and moving differently we can regain power over our bodies, symptoms, and hormonal health."
Getting Started With the Jennis App
When you first open Jennis, you’ll be prompted to complete a questionnaire that includes questions about your period and cycle length, how many days before your period you get PMS symptoms, and your wellness goals. At this stage, you can add any medical diagnosis affecting your menstrual health, such as PCOS, endometriosis, fertility issues, or uterine fibroids. You can skip as many of these questions as you like, but the more information you provide, the better the personalized advice will be.
Using the Jennis Cyclemapping Feature
Across your menstrual cycle, your hormones fluctuate across four phases, and there are several online resources to feel your best at each stage of your menstrual cycle. Of course, you can track your menstrual cycle with your iPhone’s Health App, and there are also some great free period-tracking apps for Android.
However, Jennis goes beyond simply monitoring and recording these details. It uses an innovation it calls Cyclemapping, which gathers specific information to offer movement and lifestyle recommendations according to your phase.
Each day, fire up Jennis and head for the Today section. Here you’ll find your activity goal for the day. The recommended exercises are categorized according to your point on the menstrual phase, so they’ll fall within a range from Active Rest to High Effort. They will also match the activities you’ve nominated as your favorites in the initial questionnaire.
Log any daily symptoms, mood, and activity directly from this page or by tapping the black circle containing a plus button. The more often you do this, the better your recommendations will be in the coming months. During your first month of using Jennis to track your menstrual cycle, you’ll build a bank of data that you can access easily in the Trends section of the app to get the complete picture of your hormonal health. Several other apps help you monitor and understand your hormonal balance.
How to Get Started With Jennis Fitness
The easiest way to get moving with Jennis is to take one of the daily movement recommendations based on the activities you select as your favorites in your initial questionnaire and personalized to match your hormone levels. You get a Top Match suggestion alongside other alternatives.
Like the Gentler Streak app, Jennis incorporates active rest periods into your workout program, which reduces the likelihood of overtraining and resulting injuries. These match the times when your energy levels and motivation may be at their lowest. You’re likely to get yoga and stretching exercises for when you have cramps or bloating during your period. Then, there are anti-anxiety breathing exercises and running workouts for those PMS days.
A range of HIIT and strength training exercises will suit you when your estrogen is highest, while LISS and running sessions are great for your progesterone peaks. As well as individual workouts, there are a series of 30-day challenges if you want to commit to an extended guided program.
Choosing the Best Jennis Fitness Workout for You
In the first instance, it’s advisable to follow the daily recommendations offered by Jennis. However, as you come to know your own cycle and what type of exercises suit you best at each stage, you may want to tailor your own program. Therefore, you can also use Jennis like one of the more traditional workout apps, browsing the categories to find your preferred activities.
There are two ways to do this. Look for the Choose sessions to suit you button on your Today page or navigate to your Profile page, where you can switch the app from the Jennis Cyclemapping to the Jennis Fitness program.
The Fitness page offers options to choose your workout according to time or exercise type. But you can also match your fitness to your mood in the #HowJennisFeels section. Collections include:
Short on time? Pick from the No Time No Worries section for some Quick Blast workouts. There are plenty of 5-minute and 9-minute mini-HIITs and some rep challenges designed to work different muscle groups, and many require no equipment at all. If you’ve had an injury or you’re new to exercising, the Back to Fitness or the Stretch and Recovery sections are perfect.
As you’d expect from an Olympic champion, there’s even a Run Faster toolkit to help you hone your skills or develop better techniques to avoid injury. Try Tempo runs, Steady State runs, or Interval Sessions. You can also learn post-run yoga, strength, and stretching techniques. Brilliantly, these tutorials are led by Jessica herself.
New activities are introduced each week, and you’ll find them handily located in a carousel at the top of the Fitness page. One of the best features of all the exercises is that they’re accompanied by expert explanations of why you might be feeling as you do and how each movement can help you. It’s great to get a scientific reason for why you might have brain fog or fatigue. And it’s even better to find some practical solutions.
Get Insights Into Your Hormonal Health With Jennis
The Insights section of Jennis gives further practical advice and guidance based on your daily hormonal profile. A team of medical experts offers tips on how to eat, rest, and breathe to boost your positivity and maximize your health.
There’s an activity tracker built in, but you can also integrate Jennis into a range of apps and fitness wearables via Terra or connect directly to Apple Health via the iOS app.
Optimize Your Workouts According to Your Hormonal Health
As women become more aware of how their health and well-being are tied to their menstrual cycle, there will hopefully be many more products like Jennis available to help them make the most of their workouts. Until then, people like Jessica are blazing a trail for females who want to stay fit, healthy, and active.