Sunday, March 27, 2011

Adrenal Recovery: Exercise Basics

6. Exercise BASICS
Exercise can help normalize levels of cortisol and aldosterone, two major adrenal hormones. It can also help stabilize insulin, blood glucose, thyroid and other hormones, gives
your brain more oxygen, helps the liver function, stimulates the lymph system, decreases depression, helps you avoid osteoporosis, keeps heart and lungs healthy, keeps you from stiffening up as you get older, and just helps you to feel better.

Regular Physical activity (at a comfortable level) may lessen your fatigue over time
Excessive periods of prolonged rest may worsen fatigue symptoms

Exercise should be gentle and non- stressful or competitive; something you enjoy doing (you may not enjoy anything right now but try something you once enjoyed; I like to dance)

Moderate exercise will
raise the levels of brain chemicals (endorphins) which will help you feel more relaxed
increase stamina
give a sense of well-being

A good activity to begin exercising after long inactivity is walking (20 min a day then gradually increase and add other activities)

A good exercise goal is to build up to 40 minutes of exercise a day (it does not need to be done at one time; that would probably tire you; ten minutes at a time will be effective)

Exercise needs to increase lung capacity, muscle tone and flexibility (goal is not for strength until your health improves) and be enjoyable

Include these types of exercise:

aerobic (to build stamina and lung capacity) fast walking, treadmill, dancing, biking, swimming, water aerobics, etc.

anaerobic (to build muscle tone and strength) weight lifting, isometric contractions (Muscular contraction where muscle maintains a constant length and joints do not move. These exercises are usually performed against a wall or other immovable object.), isotonic exercises (Contraction of a muscle by moving weight a distance, as in weight lifting, push-ups, sit-ups, chin-ups, etc.)

flexibility ( to increase range of motion or joints and muscle length) stretching,
Yoga, Tai Chi, and qigong all give activity without tiring and may help reduce
fatig ue


  1. This was impossible for me as I was doing enjoyable exercise,but the swimming and the Medieval sword fighting exercises, together with walking with my friend didn't stop my decent into being housebound :( What did I do wrong? I think maybe it was because I didn't have the knowledge about nutritional deficiencies at that time?

  2. That was my thought right away - that you were deficient in something. I was going to the gym and at 40 years old in a swimming/aerobics class where most of the women were 70+ I was so weak I could barely keep up with them. Turns out I was anemic plus low D3 ad low B12. It felt like I was depleted. Not tired, more like flat-lined. No juice to even lift arms at all let alone in the pool with the weights. So, definitely... You were running the engine with low to no oil. We all know how long an engine will last if we drive it with no oil. Same with our bodies.

    1. That is a great description of how you feel when you are depleted. I like the analogy. It really fits. When I am down, even blinking is too much effort and my mind is a fog. It is definitely something to avoid if possible.

  3. I've had Addison's diagnosed for 13 years. I also have major intestinal problems that recently had me on bed rest for 3 months with an ileus and following intestinal infection. So it's recovery time - again. Walking in the grocery store for even 10 minutes completely diminishes my stamina and I begin to sweat profusely. I am not hot. My legs start to shake and I get a little light headed. I start to ache, especially my shoulders which feel as though they can no longer hold up my back. My feet also start to hurt terribly. I thought this was just me hitting the wall and pushed through and kept shopping in order to increase my stamina. However, the physical therapist doing an intake for aquatic therapy told me that if I keep pushing without rest, I could collapse. The first three outings made me physically cry I was so exhausted, which he also said was part of my body being overwhelmed by even that mild exercise after being in bed so long. I am having an abnormal response to the mild stress. So much so that adrenaline is being released when I keep walking. He even suggested that my feet hurt because my capillaries are shutting down in my extremities. I am now wondering if this means that I could have a crisis and go into shock. I assumed a crisis was always precipitated by an injury or systemic illness. It seems silly, but apparently my body views this as a flight or fight situation since my stamina is so low right now. I will see my endo soon and ask, but I wondered if anyone else has been through this kind of situation where the whole body sweats tell you that you are at the end of your rope as far as energy is concerned.
    I did have heat stroke about 10 years ago that threw off my "thermostat" and I can no longer tolerate heat. But when that happens, I feel hot, start slurring and get very dizzy and need a cold sweet drink immediately ( with a meal of course, asap) because I become hypoglaucemic. This sweating with mild walking exercise is new in the last few years, especially when recovering from an intestinal disruption or other illness that kept me in bed more than normal. It is obviously a visceral response, but it is not associated with my chronic abdominal pain or nausea. I guess I' m just having a :"perfect storm" of overreaction to stress. The therapist suggested that a short rest would be enough for recovery, but he's not qualified to link this with an Addison's patient's needs.
    I take only prednisone (allergicto hydrocortisone) and need extra magnesium from congenitally low motility. I literally can't function without at least 750 extra milligrams of mag, but I don't take flourinef either. Since I've had 17 abdominal surgeries and thus suffer from massive adhesions that constrict my intestines and cause severe and constant pain, I may be quite different in that aspect than most Addison's sufferers. I'm not sure if my endo tests for minerals but will certainly ask since you've stated that most of us can't take extra mag.

  4. It sounds like you have had a rough time! 17 abdominal surgeries and staying in bed with an intestinal infection would really deplete any adrenal reserves that you had. It is usually recommended to take extra medication when you are ill. I've found that stress in cumulative. Something may not be that big, but on top of all the other stress, it is too much. If your start feeling exhausted, dizzy, and nauseous, immediately rest. You could be going into a crisis and you may need a little more medication. Talk with your doctor about dealing with stress and adjusting medication. You might have to just start with a few minutes of walking around your home, then rest. Slowly build up. Hope you feel better soon.