How to exercise with Adrenal Fatigue

Adrenal Fatigue Recovery

When suffering from adrenal fatigue, it’s important to understand how your gym habits are effecting your recovery. We’ve already covered how working out can impact our cortisol levels (read the post here), so this post is for all of the other exercise addicts out there who just can’t bare giving up your daily workout!

Ok so we admit it, continuing to workout when you are suffering from severe adrenal fatigue may not be in your best interest. In fact, working out when you’re suffering from stage 3 or stage 4 adrenal fatigue might seriously worsen the state of your health. If you are in either of these stages you really should give up exercise until your symptoms improve (and seek professional help).

However, if you’re in the early phases of adrenal fatigue some exercise might be beneficial to your recovery. But it’s all about how you workout.

As your cortisol levels are at their highest in the morning, it’s better to get your exercise in in the morning, rather than in the evening. This way your body will be better able to handle the stress impact from the spike in cortisol.

Instead of a high intensity workout, try a less strenuous exercise like yoga or taking a walk around the block. If you are seriously addicted to exercise and would find this change too difficult to deal with, you could start incorporating there exercises into your workout plan by taking a yoga class one day a week instead of a spin class.

Progress with your recovery will take time. As you make these changes to your workout, try to keep a journal on how your symptoms respond. If you feel more stressed after yoga, try tai chi instead. Finding what works best for you is the most important thing.

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Working out with Adrenal Fatigue

Exercise_Basics

Working out, and working out hard, is healthy right? Well not always…

High intensity workouts cause a rush of cortisol to be released by our body. Our body then reacts to this the same way it would if we were under stress (think fight or flight mode). Whilst typically healthy people can manage this spike in cortisol, those of us who suffer from adrenal fatigue can’t and the response can really mess with our healing progress.

Unfortunately, people suffering from adrenal fatigue often get a surge of energy in the evening. So instead of winding down after a busy day, we’re tempted to use this energy as motivation and head to the gym for a workout.

However, high intensity workouts at night can disrupt our body’s natural cortisol cycle (read more about your cortisol levels here), as our cortisol is starting to lower. This can worsen your adrenal fatigue (not to mention, interrupt your sleeping patterns further, lowering your mood and even causing weight gain).

In the really severe stages of adrenal fatigue (read about the 4 stages here) it might be best to skip the workouts for a while. This should let your body recover from the added stress of high intensity exercise.

Don’t get us wrong, exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. But, just like any healing plan, finding what works for you is the most important thing.

If you really can’t give up the gym, read our next post on how to exercise with adrenal fatigue.

 

3 Yoga Poses for Relaxation

Yoga Poses for Relaxation.png

It’s hard to relax in the modern, fast-paced world we live in. Unfortunately, constantly being on the go can leave us feeling drained and worn out. If you’re finding it hard to relax and can’t sit still enough to follow your guided meditation recording, why not try some yoga.

Yoga is an excellent way to unwind after a busy day, so we’ve compiled the top 3 yoga poses to help you relax.

  1. Tree Pose

The tree pose is a great way to ground yourself – because you have to focus on breathing and balancing on one leg, there’s no room for your mind to wander. It can also help you to centre your mind by focusing on a gazing point.

Instructions: img_0362

Start by standing with both feet together. Ground your balance by focusing on your gazing point, and as you take a deep breath in, carefully move your left foot up your right thigh. Focusing on your breathing, place the bottom of your right foot on your upper thigh, or if your joints are sore, place it on your calf. Be careful not to push your weight into your knee as this can cause injury.

Once your foot is in place, and you’re balanced, bring your hands together in front of your heart in a prayer position.

As you focus on your gazing point, feel your breath slide down to your navel and then slide up as you exhale. Repeat the deep breathing until you feel grounded. Repeat with your other side.

  1. Extended Puppy Pose

This pose helps to lengthen the spine and calm the mind (which is important after a long day, and especially if you work a desk job). It also helps with grounding.

Instructions: img_0379

Start by kneeling on a yoga mat or comfy floor. Focusing on deep breathing, walk your hands out so that you are on all fours. As you exhale, move your buttocks back towards your heals and lower your forehead onto the ground. Relax your neck, but make sure to keep a slight curve in your lower back. To stretch your spine, press your hands into the ground and stretch through the arms as you pull your hips back toward your heels.

Breathe into your abdomen and focus on lengthening your spine in both directions. Hold the pose for 30 seconds to a minute. As you exhale, release your buttocks down onto your heels.

  1. Corpse Pose

Like the other two poses, the corpse pose helps to relax and ground your whole body. It’s also a really good pose to do before bed.

Instructions:img_0374

Start by laying down on your back on a yoga mat or comfy floor. As you focus on breathing deeply into your stomach, align your body to make sure both sides of your body are resting evenly and your shoulders are relaxed.

As you inhale, close your eyes and picture your muscles and bones relaxing into the floor. Image your body is being absorbed by the floor and spreading out like a puddle of water.

Working from the soles of your feet all the way up to the crown of your head, consciously imaging every body part, muscle, organ and cell relaxing. As your internal mental chatter starts to quiet down, fill your mind and body with peace.

Stay in the corpse pose for 5 minutes. To exit the pose, exhale and roll gently onto your right side. Take 3 deep breaths on your side. As you exhale again, press your hands against the floor and lift your torso up, dragging your head slowly after.

HIIT exercises for working out at home

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a great workout; its time efficient, helps your body burn fat and can increase muscle mass. What’s even better is that a lot of HIIT workouts can be completed at home, with no fancy (*cough* expensive *cough*) gym equipment. Here are our top 5 20 minute HIIT workouts for you to do in the comfort of your own home.

  1. Walk/Run Intervals

This one can be completed either on a treadmill or in your backyard or local oval. Depending on your fitness level you may want to complete the following workout as walk/run intervals or jog/sprint intervals. After a 5 minute warm up (either walking or jogging), alternate between 2 minutes of walking or jogging and 20 seconds of running or sprinting. Repeat the cycle for 20 minutes. As you get fitter, you can increase your high intensity periods up to a minute.How to do a Burpee

  1. Stair Runs

This workout is great for toning your legs and glutes. After a 5 minute warm up and using a set of stairs (either in your house, apartment building or stairs in a local park – or even at work…which our dad has been known to do!), alternate between running up the stairs and slowly jogging back down for recovery. Repeat the intervals until 20 minutes is up.

  1. Skipping

Skipping is a great cardio workout for people with limited space and it can be performed inside or outside. Again, after a 5 minute warm up, alternate between 30 seconds of fast skipping with 1-2 minutes of easy skipping (depending on your fitness level). Repeat for 20 minutes.

  1. Burpees

Burpees are a really fun way to exercise (said no one ever)! But they are a great way to increase your heart rate and work your whole body. After a 5 minute workout, alternate between 30 seconds of burpees and 2 minutes of resting. Repeat the intervals until 20 minutes has elapsed. As you build your fitness you can have a competition with yourself, trying to increase the number of burpees you can do in each 30 second interval.

  1. Circuit Training

Circuits are a great way to keep a workout interesting. Check out our other posts here for some circuit ideas that can be done at home.

HIIT vs. Low Intensity Cardio

barbell

The fat burning zone – the idea that if you keep your work out at 55% to 65% of your maximum heart rate, you will magically burn more fat than at higher levels of exercise intensity. So why bother pushing yourself when you will burn more fat exercising at a slower pace?

Because the fat burning zone is a myth.

In the post, we’ll discuss the top 5 reasons why should give up that 10 km run and start doing some high intensity interval training (HIIT).

  1. HIIT takes less time

We are so time poor these days. Imagine what you could fit into your day if, instead of that hour run, you only worked out for 20 mins. HIIT requires less time to complete an effective work out, leaving you with more time in the day to get on with other things.

  1. HIIT burns more calories

HIIT is harder than low intensity cardio. This means our bodies have to work more during the workout. Whilst a HIIT training session may only last a third of the time of a low intensity workout, the higher oxygen use during the session causes the body to use fat for energy once it has finished. As a result, our body burns more overall calories throughout the day.

  1. HIIT builds more muscle

Low intensity cardio is catabolic, meaning that it uses your muscle stores for energy. HIIT, on the other hand, uses fast oxidative and fast glycolytic muscle fibres. This means that HIIT is more of an anaerobic workout that builds muscle rather than eats muscle.

  1. HIIT makes us more efficient at burning fat

The more muscle someone has, the greater their ability to burn fat. As we discuss in point 4, HIIT helps to build muscle. But HIIT also makes us more efficient at burning fat by creating a higher oxygen deficit than low intensity cardio. A higher oxygen deficit increases the body’s maximum oxygen capacity meaning that the body is more efficient at transporting oxygen. And since fat requires oxygen to be oxidised, the more oxygen transported, the more fat burnt. But HIIT’s ability to increase fat burning doesn’t stop there. HIIT causes a hormonal response in our body that increases our insulin sensitivity and produces greater amounts of growth hormone, making the body more effective at burning fat.

  1. HIIT is more fun!

Let’s admit it, long runs are boring…especially if they are on a treadmill. HIIT makes workouts more interesting. At most, an interval will be 1 minute long and you’ll be switching between activities…so you will never get bored.

Whilst we really like HIIT, make sure you tailor your workout to your level of fitness. We don’t want you going full blast after not having done any exercise for a long time and doing your fooffa.

Relax with this one easy exercise

Deep-Breath-Relax

It’s that time of year again – Christmas! And while it can be a magical time of year filled with excitement, family and anticipation for what Santa might bring, it can also be a time of stress.

It’s less than a week until Christmas; how are you feeling? Do you feel like you’re running out of time? You still haven’t organised the dinner menu for the big day? You haven’t had a chance to buy everyone’s gifts yet? Has your ‘favourite’ (cue sarcasm) uncle just told you his extended family will also be coming to yours for lunch? Do you just feel like there is no time for you?

Did you know, stress has been linked to a myriad of health issues, including insomnia, depression, high blood pressure and mild cognitive impairment (MCI – a precursor to Alzheimer’s)?

Unfortunately, our typical way of relaxing (e.g. zoning out in front of the TV or tucking into a big bowl of comfort food – pasta, chocolate or ice-cream? or maybe all three anyone?) is doing little to reduce the damaging effects of stress.

What really helps – and only needs to take 5 mins – are deep breathing exercises. And bonus: it’s free and can be done anywhere, anytime!

Deep breathing increases the supply of oxygen to your brain and stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, promoting a state of calmness. Breathing techniques help you feel connected to your body—bringing your awareness away from the worries in your head, quieting your mind and letting you focus on the now.

So how do you relax through deep breathing?

Visualisation combined with deep breathing is a powerful tool to halt stress in its track. You can do this exercise anywhere, but we really like to do it laying down (and, maybe a little bit over the top, but with our feet facing in the direction of a window or door – read on to see why). release stress breathing

(1) To start, imagine all of the tension in your shoulders floating away.

(2) Now imagine two holes in the soles – one in each.

(3) Take a deep breath. As you do so, visualize hot air flowing through these holes moving slowly up your legs, through your abdomen and filling your lungs.

(4) As the hot air moves through your body, relax each muscle it ‘touches’ (e.g. as you visual the air moving up through your shins, visualise your calf muscles relaxing).

(5) Now, as you exhale, reverse the flow of the hot hair – you should be visualising the hot air moving down through your body and exiting (taking with it the tension in your body) the holes in the soles of your feet (and, if like us, you have your feet facing a window or door, you can take it a step further and imagine the tension and stress flowing out of the window or door).

The best part about this exercise is that you can do it anytime you feel like you need to relax and calm down…even in the middle of that shopping mall as you rush around buying last minute gifts (because, let’s face it, everyone else is too stressed also trying to buy those last minute gifts that they won’t even notice).

 

Thanks for reading. We will be having a break from posting over the Christmas holidays but will be back in the New Year to continue to help you with your health! Merry Christmas – may Santa bring you health, happiness and lots and lots of gifts!

 

Want to improve your health? Sit less

Benefits of Sitting Less

We are more sedentary than ever – yes the benefits of exercise are more widely recognized and gym memberships have increased, however, our jobs are becoming less and less physical. The average Australian now spends around 90% of their waking hours sitting!

Prolonged periods of sitting have been associated with adverse health effects, such as Type 2 Diabetes, increased risk of heart disease and obesity. Recent studies have also shown that these health risks are only minimally neutralized by exercise and that sitting less should be something that is considered independent of exercise.

In fact, we are of the school of thought that thinks getting in your recommended 10,000 steps a day is more important that doing your 30 minutes a day of ‘moderate activity’.

Benefits of Sitting Less

Reducing the amount of time we spend sitting on our bottoms has a number of benefits for our health and wellbeing.

Sitting for shorter periods of time can help:

  • Reduce our risk of Type 2 Diabetes,
  • Reduce our risk of obesity,
  • Reduce the risk of heart disease,
  • Improve our concentration,
  • Improves our posture,
  • Improve our productivity, and
  • Increase our energy.

Simply moving more helps our bodies better deliver nutrients to our organs and remove waste by encouraging greater circulation. Sitting less also encourages improved lymphatic drainage – meaning our bodies can more effectively filter and excrete any toxins.

Getting up and walking around has also been found to clear our thoughts and help with creativity – Steve Jobs actually liked to conduct walking meetings!

How to Sit Less

Ok so we know that it is important to move more and sit less, but how do we actually do that? Our days are filled with sitting, from the commute to and from work, actually working, sitting down to eat our meals and then enjoying some leisure time in front of the TV or our laptop when we get home.

Whilst a treadmill desk (you know, a desk on a treadmill…and yes, they do really exist), would be perfect for getting in our steps whilst at work, it’s probably not a very viable option – and not to mention imagine asking your boss for one! So here are some ways you can reduce the amount of time you spend on your derriere.

At work:

  • Stand and take a break from your computer every 30 minutes – this could be going to get a glass of water or going to the toilet.
  • Use the stairs – or if your office happens to be on the 400th floor, take the lift part way up and then use the stairs for the rest of the way.
  • Stand during phone calls – use a headset instead of a hands-held phone so you can walk and talk at the same time.
  • Walk to your colleagues’ desk instead of phoning or emailing – and let’s face it, emailing your work mates is just lazy!
  • Move your bin away from your desk so you have to get up to put something in it – or even get rid of your bin so you have to walk to a common one.
  • Channel you inner Steve Jobs and have standing or walking meetings.
  • Eat your lunch away from your desk – which you should be doing anyway, you spend enough time at that desk already!
  • Go for a walk in your lunch break – even just 10mins to get the blood flowing and some fresh air into your lungs.

At home:

  • Get off the couch and walk around the house during commercial breaks.
  • Move around the house when checking text messages and emails on your mobile phone – they better not be work emails though (but that’s a post for another time).
  • Do household chores, such as washing dishes, folding clothes or ironing, while watching TV.
  • Organise walking catch-ups with friends – even if it is just a walk to the coffee shop!

You don’t need to slave away at the gym to improve your health, rather just try to include ‘incidental’ activity throughout your day.

How to Foam Roll

In our post 4 reasons why you should Foam Roll we talked about how foam rolling can help your muscles to heal. This post is about how to actually do it – because foam rolling is a tad more serious than laying on a hard piece of foam and avoiding your workout!Foam Rolling Exercise

Foam rolling, or self-myofascial release, is like a deep tissue massage that you can control – you determine exactly what muscle needs work and how much pressure to apply.

Roll Properly

To foam roll properly, place the foam roller under the specific muscle/muscle group and apply moderate pressure using your bodyweight. Roll slowly – it’s recommended that you don’t roll over areas faster than 5cm per second.

When you find areas that are painful or the muscle is tight, pause for several seconds, applying pressure, and relax as much as possible. Slowly you should start to feel the muscle releasing. After about 30 seconds the discomfort or pain should be fading.

The goal of foam rolling is to restore healthy muscles – it is not a pain tolerance test! If a muscle or muscle group is too painful to apply direct pressure, move the roller and apply pressure on the surrounding area, gradually working to loosen the whole muscle area.

Don’t Roll

  • Never roll a bone or joint.
  • Avoid rolling your lower back – To target the muscles in your lower back you should use a tennis ball and apply the same technique as foam rolling.
  • Don’t roll your neck – If you’re having problems with your neck it’s important to see an appropriate medical professional.

Ouch!

When you foam roll, it should feel uncomfortable, like when you are holding a stretch. Just make sure you don’t push yourself to the point of excessive soreness, this won’t be good for your muscles or your ability to move the next day.

If you haven’t foam rolled before or don’t do it consistently, you will probably be sore the following day. It will feel like your muscles have been worked – not so much that you can’t sit on the toilet, but like you have released tight muscles.

After your foam rolling session, give it 24-48 hours before focusing on the same area again. This will give your muscles time to recover and rebuild.

4 reasons why you should Foam Roll

Ok so you’ve probably seen others at the gym laying on a cylinder of foam and rolling around – pretty much looking like they’re messing around or trying to avoid their workout. But actually, we all should be foam rolling before starting a workout.

Before listing all of the benefits, it’s probably important to understand what foam rolling actually is…besides a way of procrastinating at the gym.

FoamRollFoam rolling is like having a deep tissue massage that you control. When we foam roll, we are releasing muscle knots and tightness, relaxing our muscles. Scientifically foam rolling is known as self-myofascial release.

Yeah, yeah, yeah – but why should we foam roll?

  1. It improves performance

Foam rolling allows us to release trigger points in our muscles. This helps to re-establish proper muscles movement patterns which enhances performance.

  1. It helps heal our muscles

By applying pressure to specific muscle points, foam rolling aids in the recovery of our muscles, returning them to normal function – i.e. our muscles are elastic, healthy, and ready to perform at a moment’s notice.

  1. It helps restore healthy tissue

The deep compression of foam rolling helps normal blood flow to return to our muscles and help restore healthy tissue.

  1. It improves mobility

In perfect health, our muscles should be soft and supple like a baby’s, however, if we don’t take care of our muscles properly we can experience loss of flexibility, adhesions, and painful movement. Deep compression from foam rolling helps to relax tight muscles and break up any adhesions formed between their layers, ultimately improving flexibility and mobility.

 

In a nutshell, you use your body weight to roll on the foam roller to massage away muscle tightness, knots and tension and improve blood flow to heighten performance.

 

 

Pylometrics Workout

Exercise – we all know how it goes, “eat less and move more”. Well that might not be true. Yes exercise has benefits for our health and wellbeing, but it shouldn’t be approached with an expectation that you should be training as hard as a professional athlete.

In fact, short bursts of intense exercises provide better outcomes (in terms of progress, heart health and aesthetics) than long workouts. And, in case you needed more evidence to cut those long workouts, interval training and circuits (like the one below) will save you some precious time.

The pylometric circuit below is centred around 5 exercises that will be completed for one minute each, before moving straight on to the next. Once the 5 minutes of exercises has been completed, a 2-3 minute break is recommended.

However, if you are just starting out, we suggest to only do one round of the circuit (that is, finish after the 5 minutes). If you feel you can do more rounds, be our guest…just make sure you don’t push yourself too much that you can’t sit on the toilet the next day!

PylometricsCircuit