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  • Writer's pictureSamantha Sanchez

More isn’t always better: Your exercise habits affect your hormones…

I used to think I needed to work out harder in order to look and feel the way I wanted.

I would push myself so hard even though I was dealing with lots of stress and emotional turmoil.

I wanted to like the way I looked, stress less, and have more energy, and it seemed like lots of exercise was the only way to get there.

I tried this for a long time… and it didn’t work for me. But I didn’t really know another way.

Since then, I’ve learned to treat myself with more gentleness and curiosity.

Do you feel more tired than energized after working out? Like you just need to collapse on the couch and can’t get up to shower or make a meal? Do you work out 1+ hours most days of the week but haven’t seen the results you want (more energy, less inflammation, etc)? I’m not down on exercise. There are SO many benefits to moving your body every day. • Increased happiness • Better quality sleep • Increased energy • Better memory • Improved gut health And being sedentary puts you at risk for many health conditions. Exercise can be a way of releasing stress and pent-up emotions. BUT you probably haven’t heard people talking about how… INTENSE exercise is also a stressor to your body. It raises your cortisol levels, which can affect your sleep, menstrual cycle, and weight. So it’s important to know how to listen to your body and respond accordingly. As with many aspects of health, this is personal to you and how much stress you are under at any given time. Think of yourself as having a “stress bucket." The positive AND negative stressors fill our buckets. If you’re dealing with a new home or new baby (“positive” stressors)… Or if you're dealing with relationship issues, grief, or problems at work (“negative” stressors)… You want to take all of that into consideration when you choose how to exercise. Our buckets may start overflowing because we haven’t paid attention to the messages our bodies have been sending (exhaustion, headaches, moodiness, anxiety, etc). When our buckets overflow, we may experience serious health issues (panic attacks, fatigue, hormonal imbalances, insulin resistance, infertility, etc) that keep us from living lives we love. If your exercise habits never change, you might not be listening to important cues from your body. The key is finding forms of exercise that are appropriate for you right now. If you’re dealing with a lot of stress and/or hormonal imbalances, gentler forms of exercise - walking, yoga, Pilates, swimming, light weight lifting - still provide all the benefits of exercise without creating MORE stress for your body. Want to balance your hormones without complicated, overwhelming protocols? Check out my free training video at the top of this page. It’s less than 30 minutes and can point you in the right direction.

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