Exercise ‑ How Much Is Enough

We receive many inquiries related to exercise. Exercise has many benefits; however, over-exercising is not healthful. The level of exercise needed will vary from person to person.

Benefits Of Exercise

Exercise increases blood circulation, enhances oxygenation of the tissues, massages the internal organs, and helps maintain bone strength and muscle tone. It also induces beneficial sweating, strengthens the cardiovascular system and can have psychological and emotional benefits as well. A well-rounded exercise program includes stretching, deep breathing and flexibility exercises. Building muscles is perhaps the least important for overall health.

We recommend that everyone do some exercise every day. Simple activities such as walking, swimming, bicycling and gardening can provide many of the benefits of exercise. Weight training, workout machines and many sports are also excellent choices.

If one is bedridden, do what is possible lying in bed. At least practice deep breathing, stretching and isometric exercises daily. Lying in bed without getting any exercise will complicate almost any condition. It can lead to blood clots, osteoporosis and other serious problems.

Excessive Exercise

While exercise is necessary for health, it is possible to overdo. Professional athletes, in general, do not have long life spans. Excessive exercise in children can stunt growth, as seen in many Olympic gymnasts. Excessive exercise in women can cause amenorrhea and osteoporosis.

It is possible to suffer a heart attack while jogging, no matter how good of shape one is in. Exercise is never a substitute for healthful eating and living habits.

Exercise And The Oxidation Rate

Exercise speeds up the oxidation rate in both a fast or slow oxidizer. Exercise stimulates the sympathetic nervous system, enhancing thyroid and adrenal gland activity. For this reason, physicians and nutritional consultants may need to inquire about exercise patterns in order to fully understand hair test results.

Healthful reasonable exercise program helps balance body chemistry. It improves one's health by enhancing the utilization of nutrients and the elimination of toxins. Excessive exercise, however, will temporarily stimulate the oxidation rate, but may later result in a slower oxidation rate due to adrenal exhaustion.

Both fast and slow oxidizers can over exercise. Slow oxidizers are more prone to over-exertion and then become addicted to exercise to provide a temporary sense of well-being.

Exercise Addiction

Any substance or activity that stimulates the adrenal glands can become addictive.

The adrenal hormone adrenalin causes a 'rush' or sense of well-being that one may desire to repeat. Cortisol secreted by the adrenal glands takes away pain and may even relieve a feeling of depression. Endorphins and other neuro-active chemicals also contribute to the exercise 'high'.

Some say that exercise addiction is a 'positive' or 'healthful addiction'. We agree that exercise is a more healthful addiction than heroin or cocaine, however, exercise addiction is not necessarily positive or beneficial.

First, any addiction by definition means that one is not in control. Exercise should be enjoyable, but not controlling. Secondly, like every adrenal stimulant, exercise addiction will eventually overtax and deplete the adrenal glands.

In the addictive process, if one misses his or her exercise workout, fatigue and depression may set in. In time, one will need more exercise to achieve the same 'high'. Later, no amount of exercise will overcome feelings of exhaustion and often depression and low blood sugar caused by adrenal burnout.

Who Becomes Addicted?

This syndrome occurs in aerobics instructors, runners and anyone who engages in vigorous exercise. Some children may over exercise. It is more common when health or eating habits are not good.

Many slow oxidizers are exhausted and will try anything to feel better. Exercise provides a temporary sense of well-being and one may decide that more must be better.

Well-meaning trainers and coaches often add to the problem by encouraging their clients to do more and more to lose weight, build muscle or increase stamina.

While some people need the encouragement of the trainer, it is easy to overdo. A hair analysis would be most helpful in this case, to monitor the status of the adrenal glands.

Exercise In Burnout

Those who are in adrenal burnout need to reduce and monitor their exercise carefully. In severe burnout, limit exercise to gentle walking. Burnout is indicated either by a very slow oxidation rate or a low sodium/potassium ratio.

As energy returns, one may experiment with more exercise. Never push, however! Focus on enjoyment, not a certain amount of time or miles of exercise.


Recent research indicates that moderate exercise can provide most of the benefits of vigorous exercise. While some people thrive on jogging, jazzercise and aerobics, many are better off with walking, swimming, yoga and other less vigorous activities. Slower, gentler exercise also makes it easier to notice when enough is enough.

The key is to be in touch with your needs and how your body responds to exercise. If you are more tired the day after exercising, you may be doing too much.

Exercising in competition with oneself or others is often not best for health. Enjoyment and pleasure are much better approaches to exercise.

This material is for educational purposes only
The preceding statements have not been evaluated by the
Food and Drug Administration
This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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