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Over-Exercising is Hurting your Adrenals
One of the biggest questions most people have when they find out they have adrenal burnout is whether or not they can exercise. There is no easy answer to this since everyone will have their own tolerance level for activity. In our society, we’re made to feel lazy if we’re not working 10 hour days and spending 5 days a week at the gym. It seems that in the Standard American Lifestyle, there is no common sense when it comes to balance. We eat excessive amounts of junk food, push ourselves to the limit for work and exercise, and then spend some days doing nothing but snacking and binge-watching Netflix.
There is no denying that movement is important. Whether you have a desk job or you are bedridden from fatigue, it is still very important to find something that works for you to get the blood (and lymph system!) flowing. The lymph system needs movement to work correctly so a bad cycle can’t happen- we rest too much and don’t allow our lymph to move, and then when we do have more activity it pushes our lymph to work harder which makes us need more rest!
So let’s go over the best exercises that are easy, and then we’ll get into why we shouldn’t be pushing ourselves to the limit at the gym.
Rebounding is a great, low-impact exercise that helps detox. This is just bouncing on a small trampoline for about 10 minutes a day, but you can definitely aim for more if you are able. This exercise is actually used in NASA because it helps to regain bone and muscle mass. Rebounding helps to literally move the lymph around and it helps cellular energy levels, as well as increasing lymphocyte activity.
This study from NASA showed that rebounding is more effective, more efficient and causes less physical damage than running does. How is jumping up and down on a trampoline so effective? It exercises the entire body without any extra pressure on any specific body part (like with running- it is very hard on your knees and ankles). So this is the perfect exercise for those that simply do not have the time or energy to do a one hour Zumba class!
Everyone knows about yoga, but not everyone likes doing it. Yoga has been one of the most popular ways to help manage stress and boost the lymph flow for a long time. Even finding a few yoga positions that help you can help immensely. I like legs-on-the-wall, child’s pose, cat-and-cow, and corpse pose- these are the easiest ones for those that have very little energy.
Check out YouTube for beginners videos on Yoga!
Other Low Impact Exercises
These are the most obvious ones- walking, swimming, stretching, lifting weights, dancing, etc. For those that are just starting to get back into exercise, things like walking and lifting weights might be things that you will have to work up to. But taking a short walk outside can help so much with the lymph, mood, and energy, especially if you live in a nice climate. Walking is easier on the joints than running, plus is CAN aid weight loss. When I lost 100 pounds, the only exercise I did was walk a few miles 3-4 times a week!.
Swimming is one activity that so many people enjoy, but there is always the problem of soaking in chlorine in a regular pool. If you have your own pool, look into more natural options on how to treat it without chlorine. Or, go to the beach if you can! Sea water has its own set of healing powers.
Things like massage (whether from a professional or with a tool like this), this infrared heating pad, and lymph lovers like dry skin brushing and rebounding can make the biggest difference in allowing you to get circulation going without overdoing things.
Still but not Stagnant: The LYMPH is Key
The lymph plays a huge role in our health, and is one of the most important things to work on when you have no energy to exercise but want to support circulation.
Massage, rebounding, dry skin brushing, castor oil packs, and herbs like nettle, ginger, and red root are all amazing ways to support the lymph. Read my entire post on lymph healing here to get more ideas.
Why NOT to over-exercise
I could probably write a whole separate post on this so I’ll try to sum things up.
Extreme exercise increases cortisol. When you are over-training several times a week you are creating a steady stream of extra cortisol which can throw you into the beginning stages of adrenal fatigue. The more you push yourself, the more cortisol you create, and the more your adrenals become stressed. If you are not keeping up with mineral replenishment (because we lose minerals when we sweat), and if you are eating a low-calorie diet then you are just further weakening the adrenal glands.
If this continues, you’ll eventually reach burnout and your cortisol levels will plummet. Unfortunately, this is the time that people start to realize something is wrong, basically when it’s “too late” to stop. They either become bedridden or they completely lose all of their energy and are basically zombies. They have to work from scratch to rebuild themselves.
You can find tons more info on over-exercising in this article by Chris Kresser and this one by Dr. Ben Greenfield
There are many people out there that will say that diet is more important than exercise and I completely agree. This focus on extreme exercise is yet another thing that is pushed to make people feel inadequate and unhealthy. Gyms started popping up around the time that fat was demonized in the media several decades ago (watch the movie Fed Up, they have great information on that!). And yet, people are more sick, tired, and obese than ever now.
BALANCE is key in all things. Listening to your body too is important- we all have different needs and tolerance levels for exercise!