Monday, January 17, 2011

Exercise and Immunity

I love to stay fairly lean year round.  As the Queen of my own palace, I choose to stay fit because I other than enjoy counting calories, or, worse yet, buying new clothing just because my pants got tight.

This winter at Superfood Palace I have been experimenting with awakening near 3:00 a.m. and have been getting on either the Eliptical or Recumberant Bike by 3:45 a.m.

There are programs that suggest if we warm up for three minutes and then hammer with as much intensity as possible for 30 seconds we will massively increase our lung capacity as well as torch calories.

After the first 30 second stretch of going all out, we are to recover for 90 seconds and then continue this pattern of 30 seconds of hammering it out followed by 90 seconds of steadily striding or spinning.

The hot aspect of this is, for me, after 30 minutes and a total of 13 sprints, I am fully awake and have, even in a cold room, worked up a sweat.

The idea is to only challenge the body in this way two or three times weekly but I found myself quickly hooked on the feeling I was getting from these morning workouts.

On the days I did not add the high intensity, I continued to hop on to a piece of equipment for a moderate workout.  This routine continued for three weeks until I began feeling completely exhausted.

Having a previous history with over doing it, I backed off a bit.  I did not get sick.  I believe I stopped pushing too hard at the first signs of fatigue.

But this got me too wondering how many zealous fitness enthusiasts are aware that too much exercise can sometimes overtax the immune system?

According to Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine, winter time is the time when, energetically, our roots are sinking downward, and, even though our energy might feel dormant or stuck, we are actually serving ourselves by going inward and not expending too much physical energy.

It is important to stretch, to move, to keep the spine long, fluid, and flexible.  The entire body needs gentle movement year round.  Foam rollers, yoga, Qi Gong, and simple stretching are ways to nurture the body and nourish the tissues.

For those of us, like me, who love a strong workout, well, yes, we can have those too.  However, when the body and mind start feeling so fatigued that no amount of caffeine will overcome the lethargy, it is time to slow down.

Many people push too hard and compromise the health and well being of the immune system.  There are superfoods and superherbs that we can take to maintain a strong immune system, however, at the end of the day, a good nights sleep is the best way to stay incredibly healthy.

So please, fitness enthusiasts, yes, do your workouts.  And on the days your body says "no", then enjoy the rest.  Your immune system and your muscles will thank you and in return will become much stronger, quickly.

And then, when you do exercise, your fully recovered body will feel amazingly wonderful!!!!!


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