What do you think of when thinking of ways to lower inflammation? Getting a massage? Eating less processed foods? Taking supplements? What about working out? Does working out help? The answer is yes. Many types of work outs are proven to lower the bodies overall stress response and in turn can lower inflammation levels. However not all workouts are created equal.
When we think workouts that can help us lower inflammation we want to think more moderate exercise. Like a long walk, or something to get you moving for 20- 30 minutes.
In fact one studyshowed that just 20 minutes a day of exercise can prove to be beneficial in lowering inflammation in the body (again this is moderate exercise not super high intense stuff). The reason being is it promotes our sympathetic nervous system, doing so can help fight off the overwhelming amount of TNF cells our body has. These guys aren’t necessarily bad, they help with our natural immune response when we are sick or get cut, etc. However due to chronic inflammation and us being exposed to so much they can be in overdrive and causing harm to us.
Why wouldn’t you want to do something more challenging??
The answer is because if you are already inflamed, if you already have too much stress in your life and in your body whether it is physical or mental, the last thing you want to do is add more stress to that. Intense workouts like crossfit, HIIT classes, really long runs, are just a few that can do more harm than good for some people. This is NOT to say no one should ever do them, but if you are working to lose weight and have not been able to for a while regardless of the work you are putting in, if you are stressed, not sleeping, etc, then you need to take a step back for a few and then you can rebuild yourself to be able to enjoy those more intense workouts again if that is your thing. You don’t want to add more stress to an already stressed out body!
So what types of workouts are recommended??
Walking – outside if you can – taking a decent pace can not only help those who are getting into working out moving but also those who work out hard can use a long walk as a reset to their taxed muscles. Walking promotes the lymphatic system to move and drain to help get rid of toxins and inflammation as well as blood circulation, and heart rate goes up!
Body weight or lighter resistance workouts – once you have a foundation built doing lighter weights or moderate resistance workouts can be great for helping the joints get more mobility and the muscles to get active and working properly. Always start slow and progress your way up. This is why I always start clients with a foundation building phase. It is something I learned over the years from some of the great people I work with at CYB Atlanta but it really does help in the long run to ensure you are moving and doing right for your body.
Yoga and/or mediation with deep breathing – deep breathing is my go to for everyone. Be it fitness professionals, every generation, pre and post natal women, I could go on. It promotes relaxation in the body by really turning on the right responses, It therefore decreases stress all over – hence inflammation decreases. Yoga incorporates this so you can do two things at once. If you are not into yoga then just simply practicing deep breathing 5-10 minutes a day can make a big difference, add in mediation if you can to get even more bang for you buck. See more on that here
Foam rolling and stretching may not be a “workout” for most but it should definitely be part of your workout program. Your muscles need to be loved and worked on. Foam rolling is great way to do just that and to not have to spend tons of money on massages every week.
Not sure what this is? I got you-
Overall working out is a benefit to us. No matter what our fitness level or goals. Moving a little bit each day can really go a long way. Putting ourselves as a priority and taking care of ourselves through working out, rest, and movement will pay off for not only ourselves but others around us too.
You can get a four week workout program and save $10 with code CHANGEUP by going here. – WORKOUT PROGRAM
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Over-training, the phrase itself can be deceiving, often because it is taken the wrong way where it is automatically assumed someone is training too much or that training a lot is bad. Which is not necessarily true. What it actually means when someone is assumed or diagnosed as so, that they are training too much without adequate time to recover and/or not enough fuel for the body (meaning caloric intake) to support it.
In both situations it is essentially meaning the person is adding too much stress on the body through training and lack of recovery.
How does it happen?
I have mentioned the effects of stress before with working out and in other areas, if you missed those posts you can find them here and here.
When we keep the body in a constant elevated stressed state, whether from hard workouts and pressures of long bouts of training or bad food, mental stress, lack of sleep etc it will cause harm to the body in the long run. When it comes to workouts and working out without adequate time to recover, you are asking for disaster after too long. Athlete or not recovery is key, and if not taken seriously any person can be affected. The key is catching it in the early stages and symptoms to prevent it from happening all together.
Just think about this for a second…. working out is a type of stress the body endures, and it is healthy. It stresses our muscles, our cardiovascular system, our ligaments, our mindset and all of that has positive effects BUT if taken too far without time for those things to relax and repair that is where the problems can start to occur. It is essentially just like any other stress the body endures, it can lead to our immune system to over react, our body to be in a heightened state all the time which taxes our adrenals, hormones and in turn metabolism.
So what should you do to make sure it doesn’t happen to you?
First make sure to incorporate rest and recovery to your workout program, regardless of how hard or not hard it may seem to be. This is the time when your muscles and body repair itself and get stronger, which we want. If we do not allow that to happen stress hormones get elevated and different things can occur.
This doesn’t mean you should always workout light, never do HIIT style training or lift weights or run long distances. It means you need to be sure after a hard workout or when you are first getting into working out you allow a day or two in between before attacking the same area again. A good rule of thumb is not training the same body parts for 48 hours to allow for muscle repair to happen and glycogen and hormones to level out again.
Typically if you are starting to feel burnt out you need to take a day or two off. If you cannot recover even after that then you may need a little more than you think. If you are continuously sore, yet keep pushing yourself without a day off you are asking for hormonal and metabolism problems after a while,
Some signs to watch out for:
Inability to sleep (get my free guide to helping with this here!)
Workouts that shouldn’t be challenging now are
Elevated HR throughout the day
Plateauing weight loss and fat loss wise
Muscle and joint pain beyond typical “soreness”
Mindset is constantly negative and you “snap” on others for no reason (meaning you are out of character)
Stress seems increased
Wake up in the middle of the night and cannot fall back asleep.
If you notice any of these occurring and you have been working out hard, or not eating enough (or even if you are unsure) it is better to be safe than sorry. Make sure you get enough sleep, being sleep deprived and working through intense training sessions can lead to this. Sleep is a major part of when your body repairs itself, if that doesn’t happen cortisol can stay elevated and eventually it leads to this.
This is NOT to tell you to not work out, again I have to reiterate that! This is to preach the importance of rest and recovery. With our society’s popularity of doing all the HIIT things and constant overdrive of our culture with lack of sleep, OTS seems to be occurring more and more. If you are putting in the effort to workout, then make sure you are putting in the effort for your body to repair and thank you for it,
The best approach is to follow a structured plan that includes rest in it. Work with someone if you need to to find out the best plan for you, or choose one of mine to help you.
I know how hard it is sometimes to slow down once you start seeing results, but as long as you get adequate rest you won’t have to worry about the bad consequences. Make sure you keep that in mind with all of your training.