We know that exercise has numerous benefits. However, if we are amongst the growing number of people who are facing fatigue and hormonal issues, the type of exercise we do can make a big impact on our health and weight goals. Depending on how fatigued you are, the kind of exercise you engage in can help improve your condition. As a general guide, intensive exercise is best avoided if you suffer from chronic fatigue. Use the following steps to help improve your energy levels:
1. Incorporate more “movement” into your day
It is best to start by moving more rather than doing intensive workouts at the gym. For those with fatigue, intensive exercise could potentially worsen fatigue as it places a lot of demand on the body. Incorporating movement into the day is gentle on the body. For example, we could take more frequent “stretch breaks” from the desk, walk to the neighbourhood market rather than driving there, walk around the living room as we chat with our family, take the dog out for 2 walks a day instead of one. The aim is to still have gentle physical activity without it causing your fatigue to worsen.
2. No “movement” after 7pm
Try to be done with “movement” by 7pm. Those with chronic fatigue might have cortisol imbalances. Cortisol is a hormone secreted by the adrenal glands that keeps us going through the day. It naturally starts to decline as the day progresses. If we exercise too late at night, we spike cortisol levels and this will interfere with our sleep.
3. Be consistent
By consistently incorporating “movement” into our daily lives, we slowly start to repair our body and build our stamina. This will allow us to gradually lengthen our sessions without draining our energy further.
4. Getting to the root cause of your fatigue
It is important to work with a practitioner who will try to uncover the root cause of your fatigue. Is it a hidden food allergy? Are your hormones imbalanced? Do you have gut dysbiosis? Do you have chronic inflammation? Treating the root cause of your fatigue will provide you enough energy to start engaging in the type of exercise you enjoy most.
Chronic Fatigue is a growing concern among today’s society. Its cause is mainly rooted in modifiable environmental and lifestyle factors. Exercising is crucial when on the road to recovery however it is imperative that those with chronic fatigue start with gentle “movement” type exercises that encourage repair and growth of the body without pushing the body further into a state of depletion. Addressing the multifactorial causes of chronic fatigue holistically will allow those with this debilitating condition attain optimal health.
1. Exercise intensity and its effects on thyroid hormones : Neuroendocrinology Letters No.6 December Vol.26, 2005
2. Randomised controlled trial of graded exercise in patients with the chronic fatigue syndrome : BMJ 1997;314:1647
3. Textbook of Functional Medicine. Dr.Sumithra Founder and Director – Thrive Health Clinic