Exercise – don’t exhaust yourself!

Exercise that exhausts your body can be perceived by the body as an act of violence or punishment which can be seen as pain on the faces of people struggling through a long, tough and gruelling workout.

Under normal, or ideal circumstances, exercise would not be necessary if we were actively involved in physical activities that naturally occur during our day. But now with our technological and economic advancements to thank, we can have a machine do our hard work or pay someone to do it for us so that we can get on with more important sedentary things, such as sitting at our desk and earn a living. And when we get home after our hard day at the office, stressed to the max, we deserve our well earned rest.  Stress can be exhausting in whatever form it comes in.

Many of us turn to exercise to improve our appearance, fitness, slow the ageing process and to reduce weight but the real purpose of exercise is to aid our bodies important functions such as digestion, elimination, immunity and overall tone and strength of all organs and muscle groups.

Ideally exercise increases happiness when it involves a creative challenge. The confidence and self esteem boost we experience is directly attributed to an increase in endorphins and oxygen to all parts of the body. Move your body at every opportunity, go for a walk, hop on your bike, take the stairs, or get busy where it’s required and you will reap the benefits of a healthier life.

Unfortunately many exercise regimes put our bodies under direct stress and counteract the benefits we hope for. You are supposed to feel refreshed, revitalized and energetic after a work out, if you’re not, you may well have exercised yourself into a state of stress. If you find you can no longer nose breathe during your workout, and you are forced to breathe through your mouth – you are now in the adrenaline breathing mode which now uses up energy reserves and depletes cellular oxygen. Other signs of excessive exercise is a violently pounding heart, excessive sweating and the body shakes. Strenuous workouts can do as much damage to the heart as stress according to the Lancet medical journal. It also says that lifting excessively heavy weights can raise blood pressure and increase the risk of strokes and aneurisms. It can also strain and damage muscles, tendons and joints.

Best practice is to breathe through the nose and exercise to the point of mild perspiration regularly and have a balance of rest and recovery for 15 – 20 minutes per day every day. A little each day is far better than sporadic bursts of exercise.

Unfortunately irregular long and strenuous workouts that stress the body put us into a fight flight response and force us into a position of repair and depleted energy supplies rather than feeling energised and rejuvenated. This can be felt as post exercise exhaustion which is a serious cause of many illnesses affecting well intentioned people when they push their bodies to the limit.

The best times for exercising are between 6 – 10am and between 5 – 6pm. Exercising during daylight hours rather than after dark when the body is slowing down in readiness for sleep.

In summary, enjoy your exercise, make it fun and do it regularly and stop well before you reach exhaustion. If you can do this you will reap the benefits of a stress free exercise regime and be happier for it.