Once upon a time when life wasn’t so hectic, I imagine that we were all much more in tune with our bodies. We listened to it’s signals. We knew instinctively what our body was trying to tell us. When we got sick, we stopped and let our bodies recuperate. For most people, that’s not the case anymore!
Let me give you a prime example.
I treat quite a lot of people with adrenal issues. Adrenal glands are small glands that sit just above the kidneys and one of their main functions is the release of hormones involved in the stress response, including cortisol and adrenaline. The adrenal glands were never designed to withstand constant, relentless, neverending stress. They were designed for short bursts of stress followed by long periods of reprieve. When we subject them to long term stress, some people might find themselves with some degree of adrenal fatigue.
Quite often I tell my patients with adrenal issues to avoid high intensity exercise that results in elevated cortisol (such as running, boxing, crossfit etc) while we work on rebuilding their adrenals. The usual response to this suggestion is outwardly one of horror due to a number of concerns, which may include the following:
- They don’t want to ‘be lazy’ (but more often, they don’t want to be ‘perceived’ to be lazy)
- They will miss the endorphin rush (which in the final stages of adrenal fatigue many will no longer get anyway)
- They will gain weight (ironically high cortisol can lead to increased belly fat so overtraining for some people will create a nice muffin top!).
However many people when further questioned report that inwardly they feel a sense of ‘relief’ at having a reason to no longer push themselves - which leads me back to not listening to our bodies.
Some people respond really well to high intensity exercise. Some people don’t. Some people respond well sometimes, but not all the time! Listening to your body might help you work out which category you fall into.
If you are used to doing high intensity workouts multiple times a week, and now you can no longer face the thought of even getting in the car to hit the gym, or lacing up those running shoes, maybe stop and think about why.
Have you been under significant stress lately? Are you feeling more tired than usual through the day? Have your sleep patterns changed? Have you been rushing around more than usual? Have you had bugger all down time? Perhaps your body is trying to tell you something? MAYBE it wants you to slow down and stop living life at 100 miles an hour ALL THE TIME!
Listening to your body doesn’t just apply to exercise and your adrenal glands.
What else would your body try to tell you if only you could tune in better?
Perhaps it would tell you that certain foods don’t agree with you no matter how much you try to ignore the reflux/indigestion/diarrhoea/constipation/bloating etc that you’ve been getting.
Perhaps it would tell you that the sense of anxiety you’ve been feeling is due to unresolved emotional issues bubbling beneath the surface that you’ve been suppressing as you don’t have time to deal with them at the moment.
Perhaps it would just tell you that those headaches you keep getting happen whenever you’ve neglected to drink enough water!
Whatever it is that your body is trying to tell you - unless you stop to listen, it’s unilkely that you’ll get the message.
Naturopath & Nutritionist
The Natural Health and Wellness Clinic
(03) 5977 7342