I recently taught an online class called The Missing Link – sustainable steps to keep your hormones balanced.
In it, we explored Excise and Energy Balance. While I did make it very clear that you cannot “outrun” an unhealthy diet – by which I mean that no amount of exercise can fully compensate for the impacts for a poorly balanced/low nutrient diet – and we discussed the importance of balancing your hormones FIRST to make the most of any exercise program… I think there’s more to say on the subject.
Here are a few thoughts that we didn’t cover in the class?
Stress and exercise
Some people… like me… LOVE exercising. I love to run, lift, do yoga, hike and ski. Exercise is the thing I most crave when stressed. That, generally speaking, makes exercise a great way for me to destress.
Other people HATE exercising. They resent every minute and every drop of sweat, only moving out of a sense of obligation or guilt. For this person, when stressed, it makes more sense to invest in something that will soothe the nervous system rather than push your body more. Whether it’s drawing/painting, reading, taking a bath, meditating, catching up with a friend… do the thing that will destress your mind because exercising will only exacerbate the hormonal imbalance that stress causes.
what kind of exercise is best?
The best type of exercise is the type you most enjoy. That’s because 1 – you’ll do it, and 2 – it won’t negatively impact your adrenal hormones (cortisol is the one of concern here).
Lifting weights is great for maintaining and adding lean mass. And of course maintaining and adding lean mass is great for supporting your metabolism, which means that you’ll burn more calories; but this doesn’t help you unless you’re hormonally programmed to burn fat rather than sugar. If you’re hormones aren’t balanced, you’ll simply respond to that increase in output with more hunger, which will lead to an increase in input.
Yoga is a wonderful way to destress and build strength. High intensity intervals can boost cardiovascular function, mood, and energy. Long runs in the woods is how I tend to my heart and soul.
In a nutshell, you should do what you love because movement should be pleasurable, not a form of punishment.
How long should you exercise?
It really depends on the exercise and the goal. If you’re doing HIIT (interval training), research shows that big benefits can be achieved in short bursts. If you’re doing slow and steady cardio, you’ve got to put in the time.
And we should also recognize that if you do the work to balance your hormones, you’ll naturally move more without thinking of it as exercise. You’ll have the energy and movitavation to keep your house clean. If will feel easy to give your dog an extra walk. You’ll want to have sex. These things add up!
How often should you exercise?
When we reclassify “exercise” as pleasurable movement, you can do it daily. Humans were designed to move. Your body may need a break from the intensity, but there’s no need to hold back on the long walks, hikes, yoga, or other exercises that you enjoy. If you vary the form of activity, you can do something daily without risk of injury.
If you want help balancing your hormones, request a consult. We can help.