Recovering from fatigue or long term stress is not a simple process.
The actions and habits that led you here will not serve your recovery, and people struggle with learning what to do to assist their recovery, what expectations to put on themselves, and how to move forward when every step forward ends up with 3 steps backwards!
Today I want to to show you a basic structure for exercise for the fatigued patient.
And if you need more support, then book a call – we are here to help!
The benefits of exercise are too immense to list! Here are some:
- boost immunity
- improve mood
- reset sleep
- reduce pain
- balance hormones
- weight loss, gain, or management
- Improve posture and muscle tone
I’m sure we can agree that this is a great thing – but what if you get stuck? What if you feel worse after you exercise? Hopefully after this read, you will have a better understanding of why this can occur, and have some action steps to get started.
Treatment of chronic fatigue includes a long-term multidisciplinary approach including educational empowerment, diet, herbal medicine and nutritional correction as needed, cognitive behavioural therapy and exercise. There needs to be a specific approach to increasing the amount of exercise a person suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome should introduce into their routine.
The first step is learning how to assess your response and recovery.
If you are recovering from fatigue, every day is different. Your energy and vitality are very vulnerable in this healing phase and will be affected by any type of stress, be it emotional, physical, or environmental. Even having a feed of gluten-rich food will affect your ability to exercise, or your post-exercise fatigue! Recovery from stress also changes daily, which means what was ok yesterday can not be anticipated to be the same today.
For this reason, keeping a diary is extremely beneficial, to list your daily symptoms, foods, water intake, and exercise log.
A good start is to use a smart phone app such as iHealth (iPhone) or Samsung Health. These can be paired with other apps such as MyFitnessPal, Calm, and many more so you have one place to log your daily activities.
Don’t Push Yourself
It will take time – this can be a LONG time! – to heal the adrenals, nervous system, and feedback loops in the body. If your immune system plays out when you are run down, then this is more relevant to you. If you get flu-like symptoms when run down, your hormone status is very out, and exercise needs to monitored very carefully to ensure you are supporting healing – and not damaging your system further.
How to start
This is the basic framework you can use (with your Doctor’s permission if you are on medication or have a chronic illness) to start building your exercise level up to assist your healing. Each stage is done progressively as your fitness allows.
This should be done with a healthy diet, good hydration, and daily stress management such as mindfulness.
Walking. Aim for 3,500 steps a day, and gradually increase to 10,000 over a 6 week period. Roughly, this is about walking 10 minutes more per week.
Do not do intense walks with hills or power walking, and do not walk for more than 30 minutes at a time. Instead, try to spread this out through the day with house work, gardening, walking an extra block to the shops, etc. Use a pedometer or your smart phone to count your steps.
This is NOT about cardio – that will come 😉
Introduce some cardio up to 3 times a week. Once you can do 10,000 steps a day without any fatigue, soreness or adverse reaction, then you can start to build a little cardio into your routine. This may be walking up a flight of stairs, or a steep hill. Start with one day in week one, doing 5-10 minutes activity that increases your heart rate.
Do not do cardio 2 days in a row – but you still do your 10,000 steps every day.
If suitable, add 2 days cardio in week 2. And if suitable add 3 days cardio in week three, with the cardio not being longer than 15 minutes per session.
Weight Training. Start with body weight only such as knee push ups, squats, sit-ups.
Week one add 1 set of 10-15 repetitions of the exercises you choose. Depending on your recovery and energy, you may do the weights on alternate days to your cardio, or on the same day.
Increase to 2-3 sets, reps 10-15.
Build to 2 body weight resistance sessions per week, 2-3 days apart.
Use lighter weights with higher reps – it is less taxing to the central nervous system.
Interval training. Once your body is adapted and your nervous system is not negatively impacted at all from all other stages of exercise, then you can add interval training. The CNS will be strong and ready if you have followed the steps. This may in the form of group classes, personal training, HIIT (high intensity interval training).
How long it takes to get through any stage depends on how damaged your nervous system is, how well the HPA axis is functioning, the state of function your adrenal glands have, and of course how you approach your program. But the good news is that exercise can help you get your health back FASTER when done properly, and you get all those amazing benefits listed earlier straight away.
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If you would like to get your own healing program started that focuses on diet, herbal medicine, nutritional therapy, exercise, diet, and a pathology-based holistic approach, book a call and start your Lucy Rose Clinic Program today!
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