Since I have been on the topic of Adrenal Fatigue (see this post & this one), this week I thought I’d post my favorite type of exercise when one is dealing with adrenal fatigue. Yoga. Dating back over 5000 years, yoga is the oldest form or practice of self-development. It is widely known and used as a way to bring together the mind, body and soul. Through deep breathing, relaxation, meditation, stretching and movement, yoga is a gentle way to gain overall peace of mind as well as achieve fitness. The benefits of yoga to the body are numerous.
Yoga’s Effects On the Body:
The following is only a partial list of yoga’s benefits:
- reduced stress
- sound sleep
- reduced cortisol levels
- improvement of many medical conditions
- allergy and asthma symptom relief
- lower blood pressure
- smoking cessation help
- lower heart rate
- spiritual growth
- sense of well-being
- reduced anxiety and muscle tension
- increased strength and flexibility
- slowed aging process
I think for the most part people who have done yoga understand why it is such a great form of exercise. However, it gets a lot of skepticism, mostly from people who have never tried it. But what I want to discuss is how yoga gets you in tune with yourself. Yoga is a mind-body practice. Doing yoga allows you to take time for yourself and completely relax your mind and body. Yoga teachers always play soothing yet inspiring music. This fact alone is very calming, and think about how important the calming affect is for your adrenals. Think of it like this, adrenal fatigue is your body’s response to TOO much stress, so actually giving yourself permission and a time to de-stress makes perfect sense. We all could use a time slated just for ourselves that gives us a reason to ultimately heal our bodies through our mind and soul as well.
Other forms of exercise can contribute further stress to your already depleted adrenals. Particularly intense cardio, like running or even the ever so popular cycling classes. Any class at the gym where your instructor is screaming at you, is probably not a good idea either. That requires a lot of adrenal, something we want to avoid in adrenal fatigue. Heavy lifting and Cross fit types of exercise can also be too much for someone in extreme adrenal fatigue. I personally had to quit my Cross fit type workouts and heavy lifting for awhile this past summer. My body was slipping back into adrenal stress due to the extreme life circumstances I was under. Also, I ended up throwing my back out and couldn’t continue. What most people don’t realize about low back injuries is that they are often a result of adrenal fatigue. The adrenal glands are located on top of the kidneys in the mid-low back. When they are weak all the muscles surrounding them become more lax and thus more susceptible to injury. I am sure my back injury was in part due to my adrenals not being quite up to par.
So, I followed my instincts and chose yoga instead. There are plenty of forms of yoga that include strengthening. Many moves focus on your core and strengthening it in a safe and gentle, yet effective way. Yoga can be done at all levels of fitness as well and you really can never grow out of it. It can grow with you as you strengthen your body while healing your adrenals. If you haven’t tried yoga yet, what are you waiting for?