I have to admit, I’ve never been a fitness fanatic. I grew up loving sports and am naturally drawn to being outside and leading an active lifestyle, but you’ll never catch me in a gym pounding away on a treadmill or pumping weights, day in day out.
I do see many women in clinic, who are over-doing it at the gym and exhausting their vulnerable adrenal glands. Although this extreme is not healthy, there is a balance when it comes to exercise, and many are unfortunately not meeting the minimum requirements of daily physical activity.
Desk work, driving, public transport, taxis, lifts and drive throughs, are all contributing to the ever increasing sedentary lifestyles in today’s society. This is far from the active hunter-gatherer lifestyle our ancestors lived and to how our bodies are genetically designed to move.
Our ancestors were regularly active, which supported their peek physical condition and survival.
How to get active.
Spring is a perfect time for you to get moving! Aim to include these activities into your daily regimen, to kick-start your active lifestyle:
Walk regularly and for long distances each day.
From our days of hunting and gathering, we are designed to move around for most of the day. Try parking further away from work or get off a bus stop earlier, so you get a slightly longer walk to and from work. Also take the stairs in place of the lift. Now once you arrive at work, if you have an office job, you’ll need to sit to get your work done….or do you? Stand up desks are widely available, helping to improve physical, mental and emotional health. Otherwise, put a reminder on your phone every 30 mins, to get up from your desk and do some squats. Sounds simple, but very effective.
Lift heavy objects.
Weight bearing exercises are crucial for developing strength and to mimic our hunter-gatherer days of carting food and water. Lift weights, take dumb bells walking, or better yet, use your own body weight and perform push-ups or plank exercises. You can do this in specialised exercise classes such as power plate, yoga, xtend barre and pilates, or in the comfort of your own backyard.
Move really, really, really fast, in small spurts.
This gets your heart pumping and mimics the times of escaping a predator, such as a sabre toothed tiger! Even if you are going for a walk, ensure you do some kind of high intensity, short duration exercise in be- tween. The trick is to gradually increase this intensity and change the workout, so your fitness and weight loss (if desired) never plateau. Examples include, sprinting, skipping, star jumps, sit ups, push ups, knees up and squats. Look out for classes offering HIIT sessions/ Tabata training.
If you’re into yoga, Bikram yoga poses The Standing Bow (Dandayamana-Janushirasana) and Balancing Stick (Taladandasana) are perfect for getting your heart pumping.
The health benefits.
Including exercise daily, will help promote healthy:
- blood sugar, adrenal, thyroid and sex hormones levels
- bone density
- lymphatic and blood circulation
(more specific info on creating healthy hormones in Balanced, The Natural Way To Healthy Hormones)
Extra tips when exercising.
- Have a set of appropriate clothes to wear for your exercise, no matter what the weather. No more ‘too cold’ or ‘too hot’ excuses. Be comfortable in what you wear. If you enjoy what you are wearing, it will improve your self-esteem and moods while exercising.
- If you’re going to be working out on the sand or lawn, kick off the shoes are get the extra benefit of grounding at the same time.
- Pay for classes up front, as you will save money in the long term, and by committing to them, it will strongly encourage you to attend.
- Do exercise you enjoy! This may be a favourite sport, like netball or football, or a hobby, such as hiking, rock climbing, bouldering or yoga. When you enjoy what you do, you are much more likely to exercise regularly.
Nourish your body.
- Use healthy electrolytes. Throw away the caffeine, sugar and artificial colour & flavour rich sports drinks and go for natural drinks, such as coconut water, or a pinch of himalayan salt in water (use glass or stainless steel water bottle). Dr Brett Hill has a great electrolyte recipe in his Paleo Electrolyte Drink e-book, found here.
- To promote healthy energy production pre-workout, take advantage of medium chain triglyceride rich coconut oil (1tsp-1 dessertspoon) or MCT oil straight down the hatch. This will be converted straight to energy and will support blood sugar levels at the same time. No adrenal wrecking stimulants, just the natural release of energy from the humble coconut.
- I don’t personally use protein powders, as I believe I can get enough through a nutritious diet. However, if you are either vegetarian, vegan, or after a quick protein rich meal post workout, you could use chia seeds, chia bran, hemp seeds, hemp powder, fermented rice, pea protein, or grass fed whey (if tolerated), in a smoothie such as my Green Start recipe, found here. Happy Way is a brand of protein powder I’d recommend. Found out more here.
- To help regulate your body temperature, support of muscles, prevent chafe, opt for the contoured stitching in compression tights, like these ones from Cheeta Recovery. Compression tights also increase blood flow, therefore which can enhance recovery by flushing toxins and reducing swelling.
- Taking an Epsom salt baths and using Magnesium Chloride Oil topically, can also help to relax your muscles post workout.
- Standing on a Power plate and dry body brushing, support circulation and therefore enhance recovery from injuries and general muscle and joint aches.
- Support your body’s Glutathione levels to promote anti-inflammatory actions.
- Be outside if possible, to soak up some Vitamin D. Even if the clouds are out, you will still gain benefits from small amounts of Vitamin D. Learn more about the health benefits here.
- Smile and above all, HAVE FUN! 🙂
There are numerous ways to get active and reap the physical, mental and emotional benefits exercise brings, including enhanced hormone health. Use motivational tips, consider comfort of clothing, nourish yourself and support your recovery with the tips above, to get the most from and enjoy your workouts.
Focus on creating a life that feels good on the inside, not one that just looks good on the outside.
Whats motivates you to be active? I’d love to hear your comments below!
Love, health & happiness,