Healing Adrenal Fatigue with Exercise
Updated: Jan 15
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.
Updated 10/21/2020: To learn more about adrenal fatigue review our recently released Whitepaper, "Considerations for Working Women and Stress: A Review of Allopathic and Ayurvedic Approaches to Treating Adrenal Fatigue".
Mindful Exercise for Adrenal Fatigue
When considering healing through exercise, we need to make sure out adrenal fatigue workout aligns with our individual needs. We must always remember that our bodies are all different. With this in mind, these are some tips for mindful exercise to address adrenal fatigue.
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 to write 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.
Exercise For Energy Not Exhaustion
If you are feeling exhausted at the end of each workout, then you are likely increasing stress in your body. Our culture teaches women that they must exercise excessively in order to lose weight. I invite you to reflect on these limiting beauty standards and instead, exercise to help yourself feel good. The work out should leave you feeling energized not depleted.
How: If you experience exhaustion after a workout, consider exercising for less time but with more effective fitness techniques. Even if you only have 20 minutes to spare, get the most out of your workout and leave feeling great. You may consider introducing a different type of workout into your routine. Always customize healing through exercise to your specific needs.
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 fit’s 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.
Reimagine Your Exercise Routine
Think critically about your workout routine, especially when it comes to healing through exercise. Are you not exercising enough? Write down a plan and schedule in some time to prioritize movement. Remember, it's important to release the stress that's been building up in your body.
Are you working out too much? I know, as a former athlete it is very hard to scale it back. Even so, it's important to find your sweet spot so that you don't end up crashing from adrenal fatigue. When you reframe your thinking to a a quality over quantity mindset, your performance will improve.
My final invitation for everyone is to create days of rest for yourself. Much like exercise, rest is not a one size fit’s all activity. You need to decide what rest means for you. Perhaps, go on walk instead of a run or even, take a day off altogether. Remember, there needs to be a balance between effort and relaxation.