By Associate Clinician Felicia Pasquale
One of the first decisions new clients make when they start with the Well of Life’s nutritional program is that they are also going to start P90X the next day! No, seriously, they don’t do that. However, I do know that when people start to make nutritional changes to support a healthier lifestyle, they, of course, want to also start an exercise plan.
Exercise is not always beneficial when a client is trying to heal. True healing includes getting rid of toxins and pathogens and restoring optimal function to organs that have been stressed for a very long time. When there is a lot of clean up to do, this takes a good percentage of the body’s energy for the day. Expending a good deal of energy on exercise does not leave enough energy for the body to heal. Many times, when a client first starts to detox and heal, they will feel tired. This is okay! I feel like in today’s world it’s not acceptable to be tired and take a rest. Do we have to be the energizer bunny 24/7? Absolutely not! We should take time out to rest and restore our bodies and our minds.
Of course, we need to be able to go to work or school, take care of our families, and keep up with our daily lives. However, it is acceptable to take a nap during the day if you need it or if you can, for that matter. For those of us that can’t take a nap during the day, it might be necessary to go to bed at 7 or 8 pm, and just sleep until the next morning. Your body does the most healing when you are lying down in your parasympathetic mode. This is when deep healing occurs. When you close your eyes to sleep, it isn’t just sleep that’s happening; it’s healing!
Not only does exercise prevent your body from healing, it also stresses your endocrine organs that are most likely already dysfunctional and require a lot of the body’s energy. The thyroid, the metabolic furnace, is responsible for metabolism and producing hormones. A dysfunctional thyroid will go back and forth between hyper and hypo. Heavy duty exercise can push the thyroid into super hyperactive (overactive) mode, which ultimately will make the thyroid tank and permanently stay in hypoactive (underactive) mode. We call this “blowing out” your thyroid. Trust me, you don’t want to do this! You want to detox and nourish the thyroid before this happens.
The adrenal glands, located above your kidneys, are responsible for blood sugar levels, hormone regulation, and mineral balance. The adrenal glands are one of the most overused organs in the body. Caffeine, sugar, and grains challenge the adrenals with regulating blood sugar. Emotional stress from your job or family takes a toll on the adrenal glands, because its job is to secrete cortisol to keep you “even-Steven” under stress. Not only can emotional stress challenge the adrenals, but definitely physical stress, including exercise, can as well. If your thyroid and your adrenal glands are distressed because of exercise or otherwise, then their boss, your pituitary gland, will be suffering as well.
Your pituitary gland is the CEO of your body. It controls many functions, including sending hormonal messages to the endocrine organs that regulate your hormones (thyroid, adrenals, and pancreas). If exercise directly impacts your endocrine organs, do you see why you would want to let these organs heal first? These organs are responsible for digestion, weight loss, and energy, to name a few. If you don’t let these organs heal first, not only will you be slowing down your healing, you could actually be doing the opposite of what most people exercise for in the first place: to be healthy, build a strong heart, feel energized, and to lose weight!
Yes, you could hurt your heart. Your heart is the backup organ for your thyroid and adrenals. If the thyroid and adrenals are overworked, your heart has to pick up the slack. The heart has to do three jobs instead of one! We have had clients that actually gain weight because they refused to stop exercising. People have also not lost any weight with substantial exercise, while having the perfect diet. That’s not fun! If you feel completely wiped out or really tired after your workout, you are not helping yourself, you are hurting yourself. You should feel energized and relaxed after a workout.☺
When I came to the Well of Life Center nine years ago, Cynthia (the owner and Critical Care Clinician at the Well) told me I had to stop exercising. Believe me, it was the last thing I wanted to hear. I cried! I didn’t even understand why I couldn’t exercise. But, I knew that I needed to trust Cynthia. She was the expert. I was paying for her expertise. So, I did not exercise for 6 months. It was kind of fun taking a break. I got a free pass to not have to work-out! When I eventually got back to exercising, I felt so much better afterwards. The workout wasn’t as difficult. I wasn’t killing myself.
The most difficult recommendation I have to give clients is to stop exercising, especially when the clients are runners. They cry like I did when I tell them they shouldn’t run until their body can manage it. I do understand the euphoric feeling that runners get. It’s a great thing. However, overdoing it will definitely burn out your endocrine organs. If clients don’t take my advice about exercise, they usually realize for themselves that it’s hurting them and then they stop until they have done a good deal of healing.
Keep in mind that not all clients are in severe distress and need to completely eliminate exercise. Some clients can simply modify their workouts to light forms of exercise, like walking and yoga. These workouts can also help the healing process by moving the lymphatics and opening up the chakras. Some clients are actually fine with their current workouts and don’t need to change anything.
My best piece of advice is to just give yourself a free pass for a few months and make peace with it. You have the rest of your life to exercise. If you wait until your body can handle exercise, you will have the best workouts ever! Really. ☺
Felicia Pasquale, NTP
Felicia Pasquale is an Associate Clinician at the Well of Life Center for Natural Health. The Well of Life Center is a holistic wellness center that specializes in nutrition, chiropractic, massage services, and more. Celebrating their 11th year in business, the Well of Life Center has locations in Doylestown and Bethlehem, PA. For more information, please visit welloflifecenter.com.