The Key to Lower Inflammation With Workouts
What do you think of when thinking of ways to lower inflammation? Getting a massage? Eating less processed foods? Taking supplements? What about working out? Does working out help? The answer is yes. Many types of work outs are proven to lower the bodies overall stress response and in turn can lower inflammation levels. However not all workouts are created equal.
When we think workouts related to lowering inflammation we want to think more moderate exercise. Like a long walk, or something to get you moving for 20- 30 minutes. In fact one study showed that just 20 minutes a day of exercise can prove to be beneficial in lowering inflammation in the body (again this is moderate exercise not super high intense stuff). The reason being is it promotes our sympathetic nervous system, doing so can help fight off the overwhelming amount of TNF cells our body has. These guys aren’t necessarily bad, they help with our natural immune response when we are sick or get cut, etc. However due to chronic inflammation and us being exposed to so much they can be in overdrive and causing harm to us. Moderate workouts can help. Another study found that after following some mid aged individuals for 10 years who worked out only 2.5 hours a week they were able to decrease their inflammation levels by 12%. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3890998/
So you may be wondering why you wouldn’t want to do something more challenging. The answer is because if you are already inflamed, if you already have too much stress in your life and in your body whether it is physical or mental, the last thing you want to do is add more stress to that. Intense workouts like crossfit, HIIT classes, really long runs, are just a few that can do more harm than good for some people. This is NOT to say no one should ever do them, but if your primary goal is to increase mobility and movement in your joints, to lose weight and not have joint pain then taking a step back and working at a slower pace for a little while is what you should do…. Again for a little while.
So what types of workouts are recommended??
Walking - outside if you can - taking a decent pace can not only help those who are getting into working out moving but also those who work out hard can use a long walk as a reset to their taxed muscles. Walking promotes the lymphatic system to move and drain to help get rid of toxins and inflammation as well as blood circulation, and heart rate goes up!
Body weight or lighter resistance workouts - once you have a foundation built doing lighter weights or moderate resistance workouts can be great for helping the joints get more mobility and the muscles to get active and working properly. Always start slow and progress your way up. This is why I always start clients with a foundation building phase. It is something I learned over the years from some of the great people I work with at CYB Atlanta but it really does help in the long run to ensure you are moving and doing right for your body.
Yoga and/or mediation with deep breathing - deep breathing is my go to for everyone. Be it fitness professionals, every generation, pre and post natal women, I could go on. It promotes relaxation in the body by really turning on the right responses, It therefore decreases stress all over - hence inflammation decreases. Yoga incorporates this so you can do two things at once. If you are not into yoga then just simply practicing deep breathing 5-10 minutes a day can make a big difference, add in mediation if you can to get even more bang for you buck.
Foam rolling and stretching may not be a “workout” for most but it should definitely be part of your workout program. Your muscles need to be loved and worked on. Foam rolling is great way to do just that and to not have to spend tons of money on massages every week.
Overall working out is a benefit to us. No matter what our fitness level or goals. Moving a little bit each day can really go a long way. Putting ourselves as a priority and taking care of ourselves through working out, rest, and movement will pay off for not only ourselves but others around us too.
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