The Best Exercise For Your Hormones?

Exercise is vital for hormone balance, but the best exercise may not be the hardest or most intense! Finding the right form and amount for you is vital.

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Are you doing the best exercise for your hormones?

Exercise is vital for hormone balance, as it has been shown to reduce stress levels and also improve your insulin function.

But there are a lot of myths out there about exercise. Especially for women who have to look after their hormones!

We are constantly told to eat less and move more – calories in, calories out right? Burn baby, burn!

  • Hey, it's Nicki here from Happy Hormones For Life, 00:00
  • and today I am talking about exercise. 00:02
  • Luckily, we're able to still exercise at the moment 00:05
  • and hopefully going forward through lockdown. 00:08
  • But what about, you know, generally, 00:13
  • but also how do we know what kind of 00:15
  • the best exercise is for us and our hormones, 00:17
  • especially when we're over 40 00:19
  • and going through perimenopause and beyond? 00:21
  • So, exercise is absolutely vital for hormone balance. 00:23
  • It's been shown to reduce stress levels 00:25
  • and also improve insulin function, 00:28
  • but also, you know, it's getting that circulation around, 00:30
  • getting those nutrients around in the blood, 00:32
  • so absolutely vital that we move. 00:34
  • But there are a lot of myths out there about exercise, 00:36
  • and especially for women of a certain age 00:38
  • who have to look after their hormones. 00:40
  • So, one of the myths is this whole 00:43
  • eat less, move more thing. 00:44
  • We're constantly told to eat less and move more, 00:46
  • calories in, calories out, burn off those calories, right? 00:48
  • But this message is not necessarily 00:52
  • the right message for us women 00:54
  • over 40 who have raging hormones to consider. 00:55
  • But, you know, we're told it's true for everybody. 00:59
  • So, you may have in the old days 01:02
  • when we were allowed to go to gyms and 01:04
  • that kind of thing, or classes, 01:09
  • you may have signed up to something 01:10
  • to kind of push your body to the max type thing, 01:13
  • you know, insanity and all those boot camps 01:15
  • and things like that. 01:17
  • And if you can get the right balance, 01:18
  • it can work brilliantly. 01:20
  • But if you get it slightly wrong, 01:21
  • it can actually deplete your energy stores, 01:22
  • increase your carb and sugar cravings, 01:24
  • and actually make your body hang on to fat even more. 01:27
  • And you may have experienced this 01:30
  • if you've ever joined a gym 01:32
  • or started a new fitness routine 01:34
  • and wondered why the weight 01:36
  • wasn't just falling off you, right? 01:37
  • So, what is the right type of exercise for hormone balance? 01:39
  • Well, obviously that depends on your individual needs. 01:42
  • Everybody's going to be different. 01:44
  • Everyone's gonna have different health history, 01:46
  • symptoms and circumstances. 01:48
  • But I will explain a couple of things 01:50
  • that is generally helpful. 01:51
  • So, the first thing we wanna do 01:54
  • is get the balance between sitting too much 01:55
  • and over exercising. 01:58
  • And that balance is gonna be different for everybody. 02:00
  • So, you know, our modern day life 02:02
  • make it difficult for us not to sit all day. 02:04
  • A recent poll suggested that we spend on average 02:06
  • 56 hours a week sitting down at our desks, 02:09
  • in our cars, in the old days, and on the sofa. 02:12
  • So, you know, we may claim we have 02:17
  • an active lifestyle by going to the gym, 02:18
  • but if we're constantly sitting in long periods of time, 02:20
  • it can be really damaging to our health and our hormones. 02:23
  • On the other side of the scale, 02:26
  • over exercising can increase our stress hormones 02:27
  • and increase the risk of muscle loss, 02:31
  • infection and injury. 02:34
  • So, we don't want to be doing too much, 02:36
  • because obviously we have limited energy reserves, 02:38
  • and if we're particularly stressed 02:41
  • and if you're going to the gym 02:42
  • and doing long cardio or doing intense type of exercise 02:44
  • when you haven't got those energy reserves 02:48
  • and those stress reserves, 02:51
  • then it's going to deplete you even more. 02:53
  • So, as a basic rule, if your exercise routine 02:55
  • recharges you and you feel good afterwards, 02:58
  • then that's probably a good thing. 03:01
  • But if you feel depleted and exhausted afterwards, 03:02
  • then it may be taxing your adrenals 03:05
  • and your energy too much, 03:07
  • and using up too many reserves. 03:08
  • So, listen to your body and work out what's best for you. 03:10
  • So, I'm gonna just go through my top five exercises 03:13
  • for happy hormones. 03:16
  • First thing is to reduce your sitting time. 03:17
  • So, again, most of us sit for far too long, it's damaging. 03:20
  • So, we wanna be kind of walking where possible, 03:23
  • taking lots of breaks, setting alarms, 03:24
  • and getting up out of your seat for, 03:27
  • you know, every half an hour, every 40 minutes, 03:30
  • something like that, using the stairs 03:31
  • as much as possible, and walking more. 03:34
  • Number two, coming to that, is walking. 03:37
  • I'm a massive fan of walking. 03:40
  • It's easy to do, it's cheap, 03:41
  • it's got huge benefits, 03:44
  • especially if you are able to walk around a park 03:46
  • or in nature somewhere, 03:48
  • you'll get the added added benefits of that. 03:49
  • Number three is HIT or high intensity training. 03:52
  • This has been shown to burn fat more effectively 03:56
  • than long cardio or aerobic exercise. 03:59
  • And it strengthens your lungs and heart. 04:02
  • It also increases human growth hormone. 04:04
  • That's the hormone that's abundant when we're young 04:07
  • and then declines rapidly as we age. 04:08
  • And another big advantage of HIT 04:11
  • is that it improves insulin sensitivity. 04:14
  • It's a bit like intermittent fasting. 04:16
  • So, good for your waistline 04:19
  • and your risk of disease down the line. 04:20
  • It's not for everyone though, 04:22
  • you have to be kind of a fairly fit base level. 04:23
  • So, you want to be just not attacking 04:26
  • or going into it without any preparation 04:28
  • or previous fitness. 04:31
  • Again, it's quick as well, 04:33
  • so it take doesn't take up much time. 04:34
  • Number four is resistance and weights. 04:36
  • Now, muscle mass we know declines as we age, 04:39
  • pretty rapidly if you don't do enough 04:42
  • of the strength training. 04:43
  • The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn, 04:45
  • reducing your fat stores. 04:47
  • High cortisol and stress has a negative impact 04:50
  • on muscle as well. 04:52
  • So, building muscle is incredibly important 04:53
  • as you get older, especially if you're overstressed. 04:55
  • And your fat to muscle ratio 04:58
  • is what we're aiming to improve. 05:00
  • So, you may not see, you know, 05:02
  • actual weight loss of the scales, 05:03
  • we're not really interested in that, 05:05
  • we're looking at basically your fat and muscle ratio. 05:06
  • Strength training also, is resistance work, 05:09
  • so it lowers your risk of osteoporosis, 05:12
  • it looks after your bones, 05:13
  • especially as we head towards menopause. 05:14
  • This does not mean you wanna turn into Arnie in the gym. 05:17
  • A set of weights at home will do the trick, 05:19
  • or you can just use your own bodyweight. 05:22
  • Yoga and Pilates are great for that as well. 05:24
  • Or, you know, go outside and use a park bench 05:26
  • if that's your thing. 05:28
  • And the last thing I wanna talk about 05:30
  • is yoga and Pilates. 05:31
  • So many benefits in terms of flexibility, 05:33
  • strength, core work, posture, stress and mood. 05:36
  • It's pretty much the ultimate anti-aging exercise. 05:40
  • And, you know, yoga came first but Pilates 05:44
  • is another form of it, 05:46
  • as such, probably Pilates teachers wouldn't agree with that, 05:49
  • but both really, really beneficial. 05:51
  • So, I mean, when you do yoga, 05:54
  • you're pretty much focused on the pose 05:55
  • you're trying to hold, remembering to breathe. 05:57
  • It's almost impossible to think about anything else, 05:59
  • it's very mindful. 06:00
  • And being mindful and present 06:02
  • is so difficult in our busy, busy lives. 06:05
  • So, taking the time for yourself to do that for yourself 06:07
  • and get all those additional benefits, 06:10
  • it's pretty much a no brainer. 06:12
  • So, if you can't, if you've tried yoga before, 06:13
  • or Pilates before, and you didn't enjoy it, 06:16
  • maybe it was the wrong class for you. 06:18
  • So, there's lots and lots of classes now online, 06:20
  • which is brilliant. 06:22
  • You can do it at home, in the comfort of your own house, 06:23
  • and you don't have to be worrying about 06:26
  • what everyone else is thinking about you. 06:27
  • A really good place to start is Yoga With Adriene. 06:29
  • She's on YouTube channel, 06:33
  • and she does an amazing 30-day program 06:35
  • which is completely free. 06:37
  • So, you can start with that 06:38
  • if you wanna ease your way in. 06:40
  • Jessica Stuart's also brilliant, 06:41
  • a London based yoga teacher. 06:44
  • And just persevere. 06:46
  • If you don't like it initially, 06:48
  • like I said, it may be that you've got the wrong teacher. 06:50
  • Lastly, core and pelvic floor strength. 06:53
  • Incredibly important as we get older. 06:57
  • Some of us have those oops moments 06:58
  • when you cough or you laugh or you sneeze, 07:00
  • you know what I mean, ladies. 07:02
  • And it's really important to keep your core 07:04
  • and pelvic floor strong, especially if you've had kids, 07:06
  • or any kind of operations, et cetera. 07:09
  • So, the best program in my view for this 07:12
  • is the MUTU System, run by the lovely Wendy Powell. 07:14
  • It's short for mummy tummy. 07:17
  • So, it's really, really designed to strengthen your core, 07:19
  • really get your pelvic floor in a good state 07:22
  • and get you fit in a really safe way. 07:25
  • And the best thing is, it's all online, 07:28
  • you can do it in the privacy of your own home. 07:29
  • I haven't included endurance type cardio in this list, 07:32
  • not because there's anything wrong with it at all. 07:35
  • There are lots of benefits to cardio work. 07:37
  • It just doesn't make my top five 07:39
  • for hormone balance after 40. 07:41
  • And if you're running long distances, 07:43
  • that's absolutely fine, 07:45
  • as long as you've got the energy 07:46
  • and the adrenal reserves for it. 07:47
  • So, find what works for you 07:49
  • and feels good for you. 07:52
  • Vary it as much as possible and do it consistently. 07:54
  • That's my message today. 07:57
  • So, if you need help with your hormones or your health, 07:58
  • do get in touch and we can discuss your options. 08:00
  • Take care. 08:03

Nicki Williams

Hormone Nutritionist, speaker & author - helping women to rebalance their hormones, reclaim their health and feel better than ever, www.happyhormonesforlife.com

After failing to find any medical help for her symptoms of exhaustion, weight gain & hormone issues in her early 40’s, Nicki discovered that she could turn things around using diet, lifestyle and natural supplements. She is now an award-winning nutritionist, author, speaker and founder of Happy Hormones For Life, helping women all over the world with her hormone and health testing, online programmes, workshops & individual & group coaching.

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