When stressed, how much exercise do you need?
As you know, stress management always includes recommendations for physical exercise. But which type and how much exercise do you need?
Once again, this is a confusing and contradictory subject. Aerobic, resistance, high-intensity, light, moderate, and numerous other schools of thought exist. However, the type and quantity of exercise that may be best for you depends on several factors.
As you may have seen in stress and nutrition, various stages of stress place specific demands on a variety of essential nutrients. In addition, the longer you remain in stress the greater the effects become on your energy producing glands as well.
As such, it is important to know:
- Your current stage of stress
- Your current nutrient imbalances
- Your current glandular efficiency
This is important information related to your metabolism and helps determine your best type and quantity of exercise.
Mental stress and physical exercise produce similar effects.
The mind and body react to stress in a very similar manner whether it is a mental or physical stressor.
Here’s how it works…
Let’s say you have been mentally stressed for some time and are currently in the chronic resistance stage of stress. This is more common than you may realize. However, nutrient imbalances have become much more severe in this long-term stress response. In addition, your adrenal glands have been over-worked (pumping adrenaline) for some time. Because adrenaline is NOT a long-term energy source, this results in weakened adrenal glands.
What does a high-intensity aerobic or resistance exercise program do? It places additional demands on the adrenal glands – more adrenaline!
In fact, since adrenaline and noradrenaline are the main hormones whose concentrations increase markedly during exercise, many researchers have worked on the effect of exercise on these amines and reported 1.5 to >20 times basal concentrations depending on exercise characteristics (e.g. duration and intensity).
Catecholamines and the effects of exercise, training and gender. Zouhal H1, Jacob C, Delamarche P, Gratas-Delamarche A. Sports Med. 2008;38(5):401-23.
Think for a moment, if your adrenal glands are already weakened from long-term mental stress, why would you choose to further weaken these important glands through excessive physical stressors? Simply put, this will further contribute toward additional nutrient imbalances and easily becomes counterproductive toward your health and wellness goals.
In this instance, a light exercise program (i.e., walking, gardening, yard work, bicycling, yoga, swimming, dancing, etc.) that does not place additional demands on your adrenals would better serve you. A light exercise program would also allow you the opportunity to replenish deficient nutrients, reduce excessive nutrients, and at the same time help rebuild the adrenals.
This can’t be right because I always feel better after an intense workout!
Of course you do!
However, keep in mind your hypothalamus and pituitary gland are producing myriad “feel-good” endorphins and other neuropeptides (enkephalins – natural painkillers) as well as signaling the adrenals to produce more adrenaline and other stress hormones.
So, don’t mistake endorphins and other neuropeptides produced in response to prolonged, continuous exercise with a natural and healthy state of wellbeing.
As you may see at this point, choosing the wrong type and duration of exercise could easily become counterproductive to your stress reduction and health goals.
Can a hair analysis help reveal my best exercise needs?
A hair analysis can prove helpful for planning your most beneficial exercise program.
As seen in Improve my Energy, a hair analysis can help reveal the efficiency of two primary energy glands – the thyroid and adrenals. Of course, this is a subclinical evaluation and not diagnostic.
The thyroid/parathyroid and adrenals are major glands regulating your metabolism and regulate macro minerals in the body. For example, the thyroid/parathyroid helps regulate calcium, magnesium, and phosphorous and the adrenals sodium and potassium.
A hair analysis reveals excesses or deficiencies of these macro minerals. In addition, essential micro minerals (trace minerals) and toxic elements (heavy metals) influence the metabolic functions of macro minerals. This ultimately affects glandular function and your metabolism.
Due to the effects of stress on these endocrine glands and the resultant mineral imbalances, you gain a much clearer picture of the exercise program that would be the most beneficial for your health.
In addition, our hair analysis includes a list of healthy foods to increase and avoid. These recommendations help rebalance your nutrient levels and supply much-needed nutrients for glandular support.
As you begin to heal, your exercise programs can change as well.
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