Not All Exercise Is Created Equal
We, as a culture, have a tendency to generalize when it comes to exercise. However, taking a yoga class and training for a marathon are two completely different workout methods. The same principle relates to developing an adrenal fatigue workout.
While it is important to maintain a consistent fitness routine, not all exercise contributes to healing adrenal fatigue. Going hard at the gym may not always benefit your body. Are you feeling extremely fatigued after a workout? If the answer is yes, then we need to change your workout to something that will aid you in your healing.
How:Take a moment towrite down how often you exercise. If you think you may need to exercise more throughout the week, take small steps toward your goal. Try challenging yourself to walk more often. According to Ayurveda, movement helps the mobility of emotions. This emotional energy often becomes stuck between your stomach and large intestine. You really want to move the center of the body to release that energy.
If you exercise very frequently, reflect on whether you are pushing yourself too much. Are you changing up your routines? If you are excessively using exercise to attempt to heal your adrenal fatigue, I invite you to modify your workouts and find a happy medium.
How To Manage Exercise While Healing Your Stress Mechanism
If you are experiencing low cortisol, your biggest risk with exercise is over-training. Its best to avoid metabolic conditioning, HIIT, sprints, and intense metabolic training. Basically, anything that relies on a good cortisol and adrenaline output to complete and deliver results. You just dont have it right now, so you wont get the same results, and you will not give your system time to heal.
Definitely walk. Walk, walk, walk. Walking helps normalize the cortisol response, so its great whether your cortisol is high or low. If your cortisol is low, you can continue strength training, just dont do any metabolic work. Your workouts should be more along the lines of traditional strength training with plenty of rest, big lifts , full body movements, heavy but low intensity and volume .
If youre dealing with high cortisol issues you may want to tone down your metabolic training to just one or two very short sessions per week and keep up the walking. For both, high or low cortisol troubles, watch out with hour-long metabolic classes such as spinning, as well as many CrossFit and bootcamp classes. My advice is to avoid those entirely with low cortisol . With high cortisol, youll do much better with shorter metabolic sessions, keeping them to to once or twice per week so that you dont continue to drive the high cortisol output youre dealing with.
Just give yourself a chance to heal.
How Do You Know When A Workout Is Working Against Your Recovery From Adrenal Fatigue
A good rule of thumb for adrenal fatigue sufferers is, if you do a workout and feel abnormally exhausted and energy-depleted for more than 30 minutes afterwards, youve gone too hard. It is a good sign that you are not doing the right kind of workout for your body.
If you exercise all the time and eat well, yet see the scale going in the wrong direction, again, your workout could be at fault. In these situations, it is sometimes better to listen to your body and be kind to it, instead of push it to go harder and longer. Of course, not exercising at all is definitely not the solution since a sedentary lifestyle leads to other chronic diseases. Finding the right kind of exercise will help you to feel energized and to finally lose the weight you want to lose.
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The Concept Of Metabolic Reserve
So before we jump into the specifics of my answer to Jordans question, I want to introduce another important concept to you, which is metabolic reserve. So metabolic reserve is defined as the long-term capacity of cells, tissues, and organ systems to withstand repeated changes to physiological needs. So thats a mouthful, but we can use a couple of analogies to make it simpler to understand. So you can think of metabolic reserve like the charge level in a battery. So if the battery charge is full, your metabolic reserve is strong. Youll be able to do a lot of work with whatever device that battery powers. But when that charge is depleted, the device stops functioning as well or obviously in some cases stops functioning entirely. If you have a cordless drill, for example, and the battery is run down, you wont be able to drill a big hole in something because that requires more power than is available.
Should you exercise when recovering from adrenal fatigue?
So if you have HPA-D, youll need to focus on rebuilding your metabolic reserve. So in other words, recharging the battery or refilling your bank account. But how do you do that? Its pretty simple, actually. If were going to stick with the bank account analogy, you need to do two things. You need to first reduce the number of withdrawals that youre making on that bank account. And second, you need to increase the number of deposits that youre making into that bank account.
Adrenal Fatigue A 21st
In modern society, what we call stress is what is known as perceived stress. With perceived stress, there is no physical threat but your brain still interprets the situation as stressful like when you see an overdrawn balance in your bank statement!
When you are under stress your body frees stored energy. It releases the adrenaline hormone which frees energy it has stored in the form of sugar. This extra sugar in your blood provides fuel for your muscles to respond with either a fight or flight response.
If the stress is caused by a bear encounter, suddenly having more energy is incredibly helpful. It allows you to run longer and faster. In all likelihood, your bodys stress response system would save your life!
But that same process of freeing stored energy doesnt really help if your bank account is overdrawn. You dont need to mobilize energy for a fight or flight reaction based on your bank statement. But your body only knows stress as stress, regardless of whether its from a bear or a negative bank balance.
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Exercising With Adrenal Fatigue
Editors Note: This post comes to you from Laura Schoenfeld, MPH, RD, holistic nutritionist based in Raleigh, N.C., and cocreator of Paleo Rehab: Adrenal Fatigue, a five-week program that helps heal the effects of adrenal fatigue.
Its worth noting that the term adrenal fatigue is a controversial one, but the collection of symptoms is something that many practitioners agree is a problem for many. If the problem is indeed fatigue-based, making lifestyle and nutritional adjustments can be very healing.
Adrenal fatigue is the laypersons term for hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis dysregulation. This condition causes your body to stop responding to stress appropriately, leading to crushing fatigue, recurrent injuries, hormonal imbalances, weight gain or loss, and more.
Its a shockingly common issue, especially in our go-go-go culture, where people work hard, play hard, exercise hard, and dont give their bodies the downtime and recovery they need. Many people with adrenal fatigue exercise too hard for the condition theyre in. They push themselves past the point of exhaustion until theyve landed face down in Stage 3 adrenal fatigue . Then it takes months to recover.
Avoiding overtraining is a crucial part of adrenal recovery, and thats why most adrenal fatigue guidelines include a significant reduction in training volume, if not a temporary break from training altogether.
Adjust For Your Adrenals
Because adrenal fatigue is caused by a too-taxing lifestyle, it usually takes lifestyle changes to resolve the problem. Here are the priorities to emphasize:
HEALTHY EATING: Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, is a common problem for adrenal fatigue sufferers, so your eating should be designed around supporting consistent blood-sugar levels. That means no skipping breakfast. Make a point of eating small, frequent meals throughout the day, and maybe having a light, healthy snack before bedtime. Each meal should include a good dose of healthy carbohydrates , but try to focus on low-glycemic-index foods like brown rice and vegetables, which produce a steadier, longer-lasting glucose elevation than high-glycemicindex foods, particularly those made from refined flours and simple sugars.
SLEEP: If you have adrenal fatigue, shoot for at least eight hours of sleep each night, and strive to get to bed fairly early. According to Wilson, when people with adrenal fatigue stay up late, they tend to get a second wind often around 11 p.m. Then they may end up staying awake for hours. The reasons for this phenomenon arent clear, but Wilson speculates its because of a natural, small increase in cortisol secretion around that time, which can make falling asleep more difficult.
This article has been updated. It originally appeared in the March 2005 issue of Experience Life magazine.
Thoughts to share?
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Adrenal Fatigue Exercise Tips:
Keep your training under an hour 30 minutes is ideal when youre starting out.
Get grounded! Walk in nature, preferably bare foot, if appropriate. Walking outside in nature has been shown to have tremendous health benefits like reducing anxiety and stress.
Invest in a heart rate monitor to track your heart rate and ensure youre not working too hard. Your ideal HR should be in zone 2
Slowly start to increase your exercise capacity over time. Adding a little bit more volume, a little bit more work, and over time your capacity will improve!
Minute Adrenal Fatigue Workout For Weight Loss
There is a point of diminishing returns, where chronic stress from overtraining, which is common in runners, may be linked to problems in the adrenal gland. Exercising while recovering from adrenal fatigue is a delicate balance.
Adrenal Fatigue Workout, Short rest periods between sets may provoke your adrenal fatigue. Running, or any aerobic training in moderation, has a positive effect on health. 2 most important adrenal hormones.
However, fatigue is a common symptom of those recovering from adrenal fatigue, also known as hpa axis dysfunction. There is a point of diminishing returns, where chronic stress from overtraining, which is common in runners, may be linked to problems in the adrenal gland. The key to addressing adrenal fatigue for anyone, regardless if they exercise or not, is in reducing the amount of stress you place on your body. Keep exercise under an hour
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Cater Your Exercises To Your Individual Needs
When designing an adrenal fatigue workout routine, I recommend starting with three to four days of exercise a week for twenty to thirty minutes each day. Since exercise is not a one size fitâs all activity, you will need to experiment and find what works for you.
How:Think about exercise as a tool to help uplift you. Exercise could look like cardio a couple of times a week and walking the other days. If you are someone who absolutely needs to get those HIIT exercises in, then try to cut those down to one or two days a week for less time. Create exercise routines that help you find your zone of greatness and higher energy.
How To Treat Adrenal Fatigue: The Hidden Cause Of Over
- PostedNovember 20, 2014
In 2004, my wife Meaghan was having a terrible cross country season. No matter what she tried, her running performances kept getting worse.
Workout splits got slower. She felt exhausted, stressed, and couldnt sleep. The muscle aches she thought were from training kept her up at night.
After talking with her coach, seeing the Athletic Trainer, and finally discussing her symptoms with a doctor she found out she likely had adrenal fatigue.
Adrenal fatigue is different from classic over-training as its a collection of non-specific issues. While its not a proven medical condition, Web MD defines it as:
Fatigue and other symptoms are caused by a poorly working adrenal gland in people who are under mental, emotional, or physical stress.
Your adrenal glands make hormones. One of these is cortisol, which helps your body deal with stress. According to the adrenal fatigue theory, if your life is too stressful, your adrenal glands may not pump out enough hormones, leading to a wide variety of symptoms.
Those symptoms can include:
- chronic fatigue, making it difficult to get out of bed in the morning
- trouble concentrating, poor motivation, and a feeling of overwhelm
- higher susceptibility to colds and infections
- cravings for salty and sweet foods
Adrenal fatigue is often compared to fibromyalgia because theres no proven cause or cure. Frustrating, isnt it?
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How To Find Exercise That Is Appropriate For You
Just like everything else related to your health, exercise needs to be individualized.
What works for your friend may not work for you.
For people with health issues, it is important to choose the right type of exercise to avoid a crash or relapse.
Please keep in mind that, even if you used to do heavy workouts, you may not be able to do that anymore .
And that is OK!
You are going through many changes, so try to be kind to yourself.
When you get to the other side of this challenge you will be a stronger person with a different outlook, but for now, accept where you are and what you can do, and go from there.
Have patience with all things, but first of all with yourself
Saint Francis De Sales
When first starting out, be sure to look for exercises that help you restore health and rejuvenate your body.
This is not the time to train for a marathon or make plans to compete in a bodybuilding competition.
What Is Adrenal Insufficiency
Unlike adrenal fatigue, this is a recognized disease that can be diagnosed. There are two forms of this condition, and both are caused by damage or problems with your adrenal glands that result in them not making enough of the hormone cortisol.
Symptoms of both forms include chronic fatigue, loss of appetite, muscle weakness, weight loss, and stomach pain. You might also have nausea, vomiting, low blood pressure, diarrhea, depression, or darkening of the skin.
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My Fitness Routine Needed To Change
The fitness industry has always been a passion of mine. At age 8, I used to get up and tape Aerobics Oz Style on the TV and then do the routines after school. I told a local gym I was 15 when I was actually 14 so I could join. But at 29, restoration was lacking in my lifestyle.
Im now 37, and it took me a while to realize that energy management is not just about pushing yourself nonstop and then collapsing into sleep. The restoration and stress relief you give yourself in waking hours count too.
And addressing adrenal fatigue wasnt as easy as telling people about it. Its not a visible ailment everyone will be supportive about.
What Is Adrenal Fatigue
Adrenal fatigue occurs when your body stops responding to stress appropriately, leading to crushing fatigue, recurring injuries, hormonal imbalances and weight gain or loss. People who have chronic illness are likely candidates for having adrenal fatigue as well. Its also increasingly rearing its head in our go-go-go culture where we work hard, play hard, exercise hard, and dont give our bodies downtime or recovery they need.
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The Dangers Of Not Treating Adrenal Fatigue
Adrenal Fatigue doesnt just cause fatigue, poor motivation, and sub-par running performances. If left untreated, it can manifest into a wide variety of other health concerns that can negatively impact your training.
Common health problems among those with untreated Adrenal Fatigue include:
- Low HDL cholesterol
- Insulin resistance
Yowzers. Not something I want to experience!
In runners, the continued, repeated stress of running combined with outside pressures like illness, a bad relationship, work challenges, and personal issues combine to have a cumulative effect that exacerbates Adrenal Fatigue.
Healing Adrenal Fatigue With Exercise
When we experience stress, our bodies naturally respond. If we put ourselves in stressful situations, we start to feel the physiological effects on our brains, our muscles become tense and our blood starts to circulate cortisol and adrenaline. These two hormones control our fight or flight response. While necessary hormones, when accessed in excess cortisol and adrenaline lead to feelings of great anxiety.
Living in a constant state of stress can lessen productivity, leave you feeling depleted and prevent you from enjoying each day. If you feel low energy more often than not, this is a sign of adrenal fatigue due to stress. Your body is trying to tell you that it requires healing.
In prior posts, we discussed some helpful tips to promote good sleep, but today’s focus is on mindful exercise. I’ve learned through my work that healing through exercise not only helps ease your adrenal fatigue, it creates peace of mind when you feel stress.
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Exercise & Adrenal Fatigue
Exercising to relax sounds like an oxymoron, right?
Dig a little deeper into the science behind physiology and psychology, and youll understand why exercise is so critical to fixing adrenal fatigue.
The National Institute of Mental Health defines stress very simply: Its the brains response to any demand. But, many times, that response can be too intense and last longer than necessary. Essentially, too much stress triggers a chain reaction that builds up cortisol levels, the master energy hormone released by the adrenal glands.
The build-up of cortisol means your adrenal glands make more of this hormone than necessary, without resting.
When that happens, we see that stress affects the brain in very different ways than exercise does:
- It can shrink the prefrontal cortex, which is the part we use for memory and thinking
- It disrupts the regulation of blood sugar levels
- In a destructive chain reaction, stress can increase the size of the amygdala in a way that makes the brain more receptive to stress
- Chronic or toxic stress can disrupt synapse regulation and kill healthy brain cells
This is the kind of stress that eventually leads to adrenal fatigue. And this is the kind of stress that brings about other issues like cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, and insomnia.
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