How to Exercise Safely with Adrenal Fatigue
For all athletic activity, you always want to do a few things for safety's sake. The list includes warming up, monitoring your vital signs during your workout, and cooling down. These three practices are even more important in the setting of adrenal fatigue. In the beginning, don't even think about working out without having a way to monitor your blood pressure.
How to warm up and stretch
Before beginning any workout, you need to prepare your muscles for exercise. Warming up properly is important for a couple of reasons:
It prepares your muscles for a higher level of intensity, which is especially important in adrenal fatigue. Warming up adequately decreases your risk of developing muscle fatigue.
It reduces the risk of injury to your muscles.
In most cases, if you spend a little time doing some light aerobic work, such as walking, biking against light resistance, or light jogging, that's enough to get the blood flowing to your muscles. You should warm up for at least 20 minutes.
If you have fibromyalgia, arthritis, or other joint problems, the warm-up is especially important. With fibromyalgia in particular, the risk of muscle fatigue and muscle pain is much higher if you don't do a proper warm-up.
After warming up, you should stretch for at least 5 minutes. Never stretch a cold muscle, or you increase the risk of injury. At the very least, stretch your quadriceps, hamstrings, and calf muscles. You can find some great pictures and exercise videos that demonstrate proper stretching techniques and exercises at Bodybuilding.com.
How to monitor your vital signs
When you exercise, pay attention to your vital signs, mainly your blood pressure and heart rate.
Signs of adrenal fatigue include a lowered blood pressure, so you want to monitor your blood pressure to make sure it doesn't drop when you're exercising. Perspiring causes fluid losses, which can cause a decrease in blood pressure in someone with adrenal fatigue. If you feel dizzy, stop exercising.
You can wear a portable blood pressure cuff on your arm to record your blood pressure and heart rate while you exercise. Many exercise machines (including treadmills and exercise bikes) have built-in monitoring systems that let you track your pulse. In most cases, though, they don't monitor blood pressure, so you'll need to bring your own blood pressure cuff to the gym.
How to stay hydrated during exercise
No matter what type of exercise you engage in, you're likely to perspire. When you sweat, you lose salt and other electrolytes through the skin. These losses can be critical in someone with adrenal fatigue, because you need salt and electrolytes to help maintain your blood pressure.
To avoid dehydration and electrolyte loss, be sure that you have an electrolyte replacement solution with you when you're exercising. Many of the commercial electrolyte solutions are very high in sugar and have little or no electrolyte replacement value, the best electrolyte solution is one you make yourself. Follow these three steps:
Fill a 15- to 20-ounce water bottle with alkaline water.
Add a squeeze of lemon or lime.
Add 1/4 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt or Celtic Sea Salt to this water bottle and mix.
How to cool down (and stretch again) after excercise
The cool-down is just as important as the warm-up. After the workout is over, take 5 to 10 minutes to gradually decrease activity. Why? Because without it, your muscles will cramp up, and they'll be especially tight, painful, and difficult to warm up for your next workout.
A cool-down is nothing special. If you're jogging, walk for 10 minutes and stretch lightly. If you're using weight machines or free weights in a gym, spend a few extra minutes walking at a slower pace on the treadmill or walking a few laps. If you're lifting weights at home, just walk a little.
You also want to gently stretch your muscles after the workout to prevent them from cramping and becoming too sore the next day. Here are two light stretching exercises that you can do quickly and easily:
Calf stretch: Stand approximately 1 to 2 feet away from the wall with your feet together. Keep your legs straight and lean toward the wall. Hold your breath for a slow count of four and then return to your starting position. Repeat twice.
Hamstring stretch: Find a chair that's approximately knee-high and place your leg on the seat of the chair. Turn your upper body 90 degrees to the opposite side. Try to press your leg into the chair. Hold this stretch for a slow count of four and repeat. Switch and repeat this exercise twice with your other leg.