Over-exercising is one of the most common attempts used to lose weight.

But why doesn’t it work?

When you over-exercise, your adrenals (more on adrenals here) produce stress hormones which triggers the “fight or flight” response in our bodies. When this response is triggered we notice the body responds in a few ways:

  • Decreased ability to digest our food.
  • Insulin is blocked from driving the sugar in our blood from our food into our cells.
  • System-wide inflammation.
  • Increased fat storage (especially around the midsection) as a self-protecting mechanism.

We are wired to believe that we need hardcore workouts to see results and lose weight, but the opposite is true. When our body is not stressed but is “resting,” we notice the following physiological response:

  • Blood flows back to the digestive tract, which means you digest your food better.
  • Blood sugar levels and hormones stabilize, which means you lose weight faster.
  • If there are fewer “fight or flight” hormones flowing in your system, your organs can function properly.

When it comes to exercise, for women, there are only one to two weeks per month maximum, where doing a slightly more intense workout is beneficial. The two phases in your cycle where a more rigorous activity might be helpful are during the follicular and ovulatory phases. The rest of the month should be low impact, low to moderate intensity, lots of stretching, and gentle movements.

We recommend the following movements for low to moderate intensity:

  • Walking
  • Hiking
  • Swimming
  • Light cycling
  • Yoga
  • Pilates
  • Qigong


Be well,

Dr. Horowitz & Staff!