Opitmal Energy Nutrition
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Physical

We are physical beings and out bodies are designed to move, however in today’s workplace environment and at home there is a tendency for us to be more sedentary often making us feel tired. Exercise therefore needs to be an important part of our daily routine as it can:-

  • Raise endorphins which are our “feel good” hormones
  • Help with regulating sleep, vital to having great energy
  • Help regulate cortisol, a hormone associated with energy
  • Help with relaxation
  • Improve mood, making us feel like we can do and achieve more
  • Decrease stress and anxiety

Breathing

ven-physicalAn individual with severe stress or chronic fatigue may not be able to tolerate any form of active exercise initially, in which case it is important to focus on relaxation and breathing control (Nijs et, al, 2008)1 It has been shown that breathing exercises exert and effect on balancing cortisol levels and can therefore reduce stress. Further to this they may improve immune functioning and reduce oxidative stress which can be damaging to the body (Martarelli et al, 2011)2. Breathing is something we do without thinking, but actively controlling how we breathe in purposeful exercise, can be very beneficial.

Pacing

Is controversial as an approach as it has not yielded any clinical improvement in chronic fatigue or stress management. It does however enable you to listen to your body and objectively assess what you are capable of achieving, avoiding a boom or bust situation with CFS/ME sufferers, and cluster events, which may put too much strained on an already over stressed body in chronic stress sufferers (white et, al, 2011)3.

Aerobic exercise

Exercise has continually been shown to be beneficial in the management of stress and anxiety. According to the American Psychological Society (Dishman and Sothmann)4 it gives the body the ability to practice dealing with stress by forcing all of the body’s physiological systems, which are normally involved in the stress response, to communicate more closely with each other, such as the cardiovascular system with the renal and muscular systems, overseen by the nervous system. It is therefore possible that the more sedentary we become, the less efficient our bodies are in dealing with stressful situations. In particular anxiety levels have been significantly reduced with exercise training on programmes lasting between 3 and 12 weeks in sedentary individuals (Herring et, al, 2010)5

Graded exercises

Is a structure exercise programme for people with CFS/ME that aims to gradually increase how long you carry out a physical activity which raises the heart rate such as walking, gardening or swimming. This needs to be provided after you have been fully assessed, establishing a baseline of activities which are currently achievable on most days of the week. Exercises are very gradually increased over weeks and months with a typical programme lasting 9-12 months. This programme has shown improvement in some individuals, but importantly this is not initially appropriate for those with severe illness or neurological problems (white et, al, 2011) 3.

 

References

  1. Nijs J, Adriaens J, Schuermans D, Buyl R, Vincken W.(2008). Breathing retraining in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome: a pilot study. Physiotherapy Theory and Practice 24(2):83-94
  2. Martarelli D,  Cocchioni M,  Scuri S, Pompei P (2011) Diaphragmatic Breathing Reduces Exercise-Induced Oxidative Stress Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 932430, 10 pages.
  3. White P D, Goldsmith K A, Johnson A L, Potts L, Walwyn R, DeCesare J C, Baber H L, Burgess M,  Clark L V, Cox D L, Bavinton J, Angus B J, Murphy G, Murphy M, O’Dowd H, Wilks D, McCrone P, Chalder T, Sharpe M, and on behalf of the PACE trial management group (2011).  Comparison of adaptive pacing therapy, cognitive behaviour therapy, graded exercise therapy, and specialist medical care for chronic fatigue syndrome (PACE): a randomised trial (2011). Lancet 377(9768): 823–836.
  4. Dishman R K Sothmann M (nd). Exercise fuels the brain’s stress buffers. American Psychological Society (http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/exercise-stress.aspx).
  5. White P D, Goldsmith K A, Johnson A L, Potts L, Walwyn R, DeCesare J C, Baber H L, Burgess M,  Clark L V, Cox D L, Bavinton J, Angus B J, Murphy G, Murphy M, O’Dowd H, Wilks D, McCrone P, Chalder T, Sharpe M, and on behalf of the PACE trial management group (2011).  Comparison of adaptive pacing therapy, cognitive behaviour therapy, graded exercise therapy, and specialist medical care for chronic fatigue syndrome (PACE): a randomised trial (2011). Lancet 377: (9768): 823–836.
  6. Herring M P, O’Connor P J, Dishman R K (2010) The Effect of Exercise Training on Anxiety Symptoms Among Patients A Systematic Review Archives of Internal Medicine.170:(4):321-331
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