• Good Exercise vs. Bad Exercise for Healing

    Posted by Karen Brimeyer

    Exercise has far too many other health benefits that it absolutely needs to be included in your daily activities.

    In fact, the right kind of exercise can help…

    • Balance your blood sugar
    • Increase your energy
    • Stimulate your immune system
    • Balance your hormones
    • Improve constipation
    • Decrease stress
    • Improve detoxification
    • Decrease inflammation
    • Improve sleep
    • Increase bone density
    • Reduce your risk of injury
    • and the list goes on and on…

    But there is a catch because I did say the “right” kind of exercise.

    Most people don’t know this but not all exercise is created equal so there are some big differences between good exercise and what I call bad exercise. And keep in mind that I use the term “bad exercise” loosely because it’s not bad for everyone. It really depends on the overall goal of what you are trying to achieve. However, bad exercise can and will slow down, stop, and even worsen Leaky Gut Syndrome.

    Bad Exercise for Healing – Cardio Exercise

    I’m not entirely sure why, but most people seem to be obsessed with running, treadmills, elliptical trainers, aerobics and many other forms of continuous repetitive cardio exercise.

    Yes, cardiovascular health is important but these forms of exercise are not the best way to improve your cardiovascular health. In fact, many competitive long distance runners suffer from enlarged hearts and often die from heart failure at an early age because the heart is really just a muscle. And overuse will cause it to compensate by growing just like any other muscle in the body which is not ideal for proper function.

    But there’s a completely difference problem when it comes to your gut.

    Cardio Breaks Down Healthy Living Cells

    Cardio exercise is catabolic in nature. This means that it promotes catabolism within the body which is another way of saying that it promotes the breakdown of healthy living cells.

    The body does this because long bouts of cardio elicits a stress response within the body. And when the body is under stress, it begins to hold onto its stored energy reserves (fat) and use up easier to access protein (muscle).

    And hopefully you understand that this is the opposite of what you want when trying to heal. Instead of wasting the healthy living cells that you do have, you need to put your focus on instead rebuilding and promoting the growth of and repair of your cells.

    This is due largely from the significant release in cortisol or stress hormone that occurs after performing this type of exercise. As I’ve mentioned before cortisol plays a vital role in turning off your body’s natural healing processes so it can instead respond to the given stress.

    Good Exercise for Healing – Anabolic Exercise

    If cardiovascular health is a goal then you can achieve the same but even healthier cardiovascular effect from doing more weight bearing exercise. The more you use your muscles, the more blood they require. And the more blood they require the more your heart has to work to pump blood to them.

    The biggest difference is that under these conditions, your heart isn’t being forced to work for long periods of time. Instead, it can work in shorter bursts and get plenty of healthy rest in between.

    Anabolic Exercise Builds and Repairs Healthy Living Cells

    The opposite of catabolic (cell breakdown) is anabolic which refers to the building, growth, and repair of cells.

    So when I refer to anabolic exercise, I’m referring to exercise that elicits an anabolic response within the body which promotes the healing process.

    Some examples of good anabolic exercise are:

    • Weight Training
    • Qi Gong
    • Tai Chi

    But there still are some variables which need to be considered to ensure that you get the maximum healing effects of your anabolic exercise. And mostly I’m referring to the amount of exercise that you do.

    You never want to over exert yourself with any form of exercise, otherwise the benefits will be greatly diminished. Anytime you work out, you should be energized afterward and that energy should continue with you throughout the day.

    But if you feel worse and have lower energy throughout the day then you’re likely doing too much.

    It’s best to build up slowly over time, especially if you haven’t exercised regularly for any period of time in order to give your nervous system time to adapt to these new demands on your body.

    But the benefits are almost immediate and well worth the effort.

    Related posts:

    1. How Exercise Affects Your Gut Health
14 Responses to “Good Exercise vs. Bad Exercise for Healing”
  1. Sabine

    Again, I must admit that I learned it the hard way some months ago and I am still struggling to gain precious weight (muscle tissue). However, it is so good to see this worked out here and explained. THANK YOU!

    [Reply]

  2. Wendy

    This is a great article Karen. Thanks. Keep up the good work. :-)

    [Reply]

  3. patrice

    Would swimming be okay?

    [Reply]

    Karen Brimeyer Reply:

    It would depend on the intensity of the swimming. Easy swimming could be beneficial. But strenuous swimming would be counter-productive.

    [Reply]

  4. Cherie

    Hi Karen
    Is aqua jogging ok? (Physio has sent me as neck & back keep going out). Also I do 6 Km walks at a brisk pace. (Usually 6km in an hour or less) when feeling up to it :) . Both only a couple of times a week.

    Kind regards

    Cherie :)

    [Reply]

    Karen Brimeyer Reply:

    It depends on the intensity. Intense exercise is going to disrupt hormones and increase your stress response. If it’s not intense then it should be ok.

    [Reply]

  5. Denny

    Karen is P90x workout ok? I know that there different variation of workouts in there workout plan?

    [Reply]

    Karen Brimeyer Reply:

    P90x is very intense and the problem with really intense exercise is that it can cause a serious stress response, shut off your thyroid, and disrupt a lot of hormone pathways.

    [Reply]

  6. Darn Karen–you rock!
    You write some of the most important articles.
    I really get so much from your writings and my family LOVES spaghetti squash with meat sauce.
    Your cookbook is great.
    Best holiday to you!

    [Reply]

  7. Tina

    Is rebouding ok?

    [Reply]

    Karen Brimeyer Reply:

    You just want to keep the intensity low so that you’re not creating a big stress response.

    [Reply]

  8. Tina

    It should be rebounding. sorry

    [Reply]

  9. Nikki

    Yoga?

    [Reply]

  10. Dasha McGee

    Hi Karen,

    I have noticed that if I over do things I do feel worse and a yucky fatigue feeling…not a nice tired after execrise feeling. I’m trying to do yoga abit and swimming gently and gentle walking…….and If I don’t feel great dont do much on that day.

    [Reply]

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