The Scary Reason You May Need To Skip Your Workout
By Janet Early
Some days, you are just exhausted. Whether you’ve been putting in longer hours at work, running around with the kids all week, or tackling a mighty to-do list, sometimes you are just too tired to work out. Two things happen next: either you hit the gym anyway or you feel guilty about skipping a workout. But should you do either?
Researchers and health professionals believe it is actually counterproductive to work out when tired. Critical for an effective exercise regimen is taking time to rest and recover. When you push yourself to get to the gym when your body desperately needs rest, you tax your adrenal glands, leading to burnout and fatigue.
What Is Adrenal Fatigue?
Located above the kidneys, the adrenal glands regulate the way your body reacts to stress. When a threat (stress trigger) is felt, the adrenals release certain hormones to handle the situation, resulting in fight or flight effects upon the rest of your body. While your body is in this tense state, attention is taken away from important areas like the digestive and immune systems and redirected to the heart, brain and muscles.
Adrenal fatigue occurs when your body loses its ability to handle the high amounts of stress brought on by your lifestyle or physiological factors. When you’re overly stressed, it’s like your adrenals are in a competitive race with a star runner. When stress outpaces them for long enough, they quickly tire out until they slow down drastically… in some cases, completely (bye bye, energy).
Here are the main symptoms of adrenal fatigue:
- Chronic tiredness
- Excess fat storage
- Food cravings
- Increased allergies or sensitivities to food
- Body aches, muscle weakness and bone loss
- Trouble sleeping
- Trouble concentrating, racing thoughts and anxiety
- Depression or irritability
- Hormone imbalance
If you’re experiencing 2 or more of the above symptoms and recognize that you have heavy stressors in your life, possibly in the form of:
- A stressful job
- Financial difficulties
- Toxic relationships
- Traumatic experiences like a family death or serious injury
- Heavy exposure to environmental toxins and pollution
…you may want to check into whether you may have adrenal fatigue. There are various saliva, blood, and urine tests that you can order to check for this condition. For the clearest results, work with a naturopath with whom you can discuss your physical, mental and emotional symptoms as well to find the real root cause and treat accordingly.
You can also try a combination of diet, exercise and stress management techniques:
- A diet minimal in caffeine, sweeteners, processed foods and hydrogenated oils and rich in easy-to-digest, adrenal-healing superfoods such as coconut, avocados, nutrient-dense veggies, seeds and nuts, fatty fish and sea salt.
- Eating regularly to prevent blood sugar fluctuations (set a timer for every 3 hours).
- Moderate daily exercise, making sure to incorporate recovery days and stretching. Don’t overdo it!
- Supplemental support. Supplements that specifically benefit the adrenals are ashwagandha, fish oil, magnesium, holy basil, zinc and vitamins B5, B12, C and D.
- Seven to nine hours of sleep per night.
- Stress reduction techniques such as meditation, yoga, deep breathing, or therapy.
- Taking time to unwind. Go for a walk, see a movie, or explore a new place. In a nutshell, have more fun!
- Reduce the negativity in your life, whether it’s negative-minded people, destructive self-talk, or stressful relationships or jobs. Re-evaluate whether they should have a place in your life.
The number one underlying reason for death today is stress.
Stress is identified as the root cause of more than 60% of all illness and disease. But it has become the societal norm today to accept that stress is a part of life. People too readily consent to the notions that work must be stressful and that sleep and stress-reduction practices are wastes of time and productivity. However, these are simply untrue and destructive beliefs.
Minimizing stressors in your life results in a fitter, more positive and, most importantly, happier you.
Janet Early is a health enthusiast living in Los Angeles and working as a researcher for a major television company. An aspiring writer, Janet discovered her passion for wholesome nutrition and natural healing while navigating the struggles of balancing food sensitivities in a modern world. In addition to nutrition, she enjoys traveling, storytelling and embarking on daily adventures.
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