fbpx

Category: Move

How does yoga help balance hormones?

How do you feel after you go to a yoga class?

 

Calmer? A bit more chilled out? 

 

Many studies have shown that yoga has calming effects on our nervous systems, hormones and psychological wellbeing, creating a blissed out feeling that lasts well past the end of a 45 minute class. 

 

That calming effect reduces the levels of cortisol in our bodies and takes us out of the flight or flight, stressed state. You know, that frenzied feeling where your never ending to-do list keeps cycling around in your head and you’re doing too many things at the same time. 

 

For women especially, studies show that yoga can improve the pre-menstrual luteal phase, reducing feelings of anxiety, depression and increasing feelings of relaxation and calm.

 

Because yoga is so beneficial in reducing cortisol levels, it can have a positive effect on reducing how we cope with stress on an ongoing basis. 

 

When we can get stressed, our cortisol levels increase, we go into a fight or flight state (think clammy hands, dry mouth, rapid heartbeat and sweating) and this gives our brains a signal that it should make less progesterone and estrogen. 

 

When you’re in the fight or flight state, your brain is thinking – she’s stressed, she’s making loads of cortisol, she’s not going to be procreating any time soon, so I don’t need to make as much estrogen and progesterone. And this leads to hormone imbalance because your body isn’t making the right levels of estrogen and progesterone to keep the reproductive system, moods, energy, bones and skin in balance. 

 

Our bodies desperately want to be in equilibrium and want to get us back to a calm, restful state as much as possible. Modern life makes this hard, so this is where yoga comes in. The combination of dynamic movement and breathing regulates the breath, calms the mind and take the nervous system back to a state where you feel on an even keel. 

 

Breathing helps and there are quite a few specific poses that have a positive effect on the endocrine system – these are the organs that make hormones; the thyroid, the adrenals, the reproductive hormones and of course, the brain. 

 

Watch out for upcoming posts where I break down specific poses that support hormone balance. 

 

What’s your favourite calming yoga pose?

 

Do you want support to balance your hormones, reduce stress and stop mood swings?  Get in touch for a free 30 minute nutrition, hormone & menstrual health review to help clear the confusion.

 

Le’Nise Brothers is a nutritional therapist, women’s health coach, trainee yoga teacher and founder of Eat Love Move.

 

Le’Nise works primarily with women who feel like they’re being ruled by their sugar cravings, mood swings and hormonal acne & bloating. 
 

They want to get to grips with heavy, missing, irregular & painful periods, fibroids, PMS, PCOS, endometriosis, post-natal depletion and perimenopause.  
 

Her mission is for women to understand and embrace their hormones & menstrual cycle! 

 

Research sources:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24298457
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25965108 
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24138994 

 

Photo by Yayan Sopian on Unsplash

Exercise and your menstrual cycle.

exercise and the menstrual cycle

Have you ever thought about how your cycle affects the way you exercise?

 

The highs and lows of hormones means that at certain times in your cycle it’s better to slow things down and do very light, gentle exercise. And at other times in your cycle, you feel full of energy and ready to take on the world.

 

Menstrual Phase

 

Do you notice a difference in the way you feel about exercise during your menstrual cycle?

 

I do.

 

During the first few days of my period, I usually stick to light and gentle yoga sessions, because I find that anything else leaves me feeling totally drained afterwards, which is the opposite of how I want to feel after I work out!

 

Follicular Phase

 

I notice a huge difference in my energy levels as soon as I finish my period.

 

Do you?

 

My energy skyrockets (along with my estrogen and progesterone levels) and I feel ready to take on the world!

 

It’s during this time of my cycle, I like to try new types of exercises, new classes, new instructors and new yoga flows. I find that I’m much more open to trying new things and the energy I have helps me retain new information.

 

Ovulation

 

There’s a point in our cycles where we feel so full of energy, like we can conquer the world!

 

Can you relate to this?

 

This is usually happens around day 14-16 of our menstrual cycles when we ovulate. We’re at the peak of our powers and it’s the point when our estrogen and progesterone levels are at their highest.

 

This is the time in our cycles when it’s great to go hell for leather into your hardest, most challenging class, turn the dial up to the hardest you’ve ever gone in your spin class or add a bit of extra weight in the gym.

 

Luteal Phase

 

Do you ever feel a bit sluggish and tired in the week before your period? As estrogen and progesterone start to drop, so do our energy levels.

 

This is the time when you might feel a bit moody, bloated and your skin might breakout a bit.

 

During this time in my cycle, I try not to push myself, unless I’m really feeling up to it.

 

Instead, I focus on restorative yoga flows, lots of slow paced sun salutations and brisk walking (I can’t get away from walking, living in London!).

 

The peaks and troughs of our hormones and how they connect to our energy levels show how important it is for us to listen to our bodies and not force ourselves to exercise that our bodies aren’t ready for that particular day.

 

Do you want to talk more about your menstrual cycle and getting control of any hormonal issues that are stopping you from exercising and leading a life full of energy? Book in for a free 30 minute Hormone Health Review!

Want to start running? Here’s a guide on how to do it!


 
The lovely Dorota from Isleworth Running Club has written a post to help anyone who’s thinking about starting to run with all the things you need to know. 

 

Commit!

In my opinion, nothing happens for us until we actually commit. You have to really make a conscious decision that this is what you want to do. Once this is clear in your mind and in your heart, you won’t hesitate about going for a run the next time it rains. Understand your WHY, commit, pick a start date and tell everyone about it. Hopefully, you won’t want to disappoint them.
 

Find Running Buddy or Join A Running Club

Most people will need some additional motivation to start running and to keep at it. One of the best methods is to find a running buddy. Ideally, someone at a similar level to you. You can then go through the journey together and share your highs and lows with each other. Or join a running club. They are full of people who are passionate about running and will do a lot to support you.
 

Running Apps

It might just happen that you will not be able to find a buddy or a running club. Nowadays, there are multitude of running apps which you can use in different ways to stay focused. You can collect distance badges/medals and setting up a weekly/monthly goal is an option. Some runners join virtual runs. Some apps have commentary and can crack jokes during your run which makes the whole experience a bit more fun. Just figure out what suits you best.
 

Running Shoes and Clothes

You can start with a cheaper pair of running shoes but my advice is – go to a shop and try them on. Rather than just looking pretty on your feet, your shoes should fit well and be slightly bigger than your standard walking shoes to avoid blisters or losing your toenails. No one can criticise you for going on a run in a cotton T-shirt and many people do just that. If you tend to sweat a lot and you often run in a cooler weather, you should consider a polyester running top. It will dry much faster and you won’t feel cold after the run. If you’re a woman you should invest in a sports bra. Trust me, it’s worth it.
 

User Training Plan

The most popular training plan for beginners is Couch to 5k (c25k). It involves a 5min warm-up, 20 to 25 min walking/jogging intervals and a 5 min cool down, 3 days a week. There is a day or two of rest in between for your body to recover. Each week, you increase the jogging and reduce the walking. This method is great because it splits your main goal into manageable chunks. Every week, you get a sense of achievement. If you don’t manage to keep up with the schedule, then repeat a week if necessary. If you feel like it’s too easy start from week 2 or 3 but always remember to have a rest day in between.
 

Pre & Post Run Advice

Firstly, your meal before the run should include some carbohydrates and some protein. If you have a substantial meal, then make sure you have it 2 hours before the run or 1 hour before in case of a lighter meal.
 
Secondly, warm up before the run by doing a few minutes of brisk walking. You are then less likely  to get out of breath too quickly or get a stitch.
 
Thirdly, cooling down after helps you lower your heart rate and slow down your breathing gradually so you avoid feeling dizzy. Also, when you keep moving after the run it helps your lymphatic system to get rid of lactic acid from your muscles.
 
Fourthly, do some stretches of your quads, hip flexors, calves and hamstrings to prevent cramps, relax muscles and makes them more flexible.
 
Finally, have some protein after then run to help your body recover and be ready for the next challenge.

 

Thanks, Dorota!

 

Are you inspired? Check out the Isleworth Running Club for their runs for runners of all levels. 

Photo by Roman Koester on Unsplash

How do you stay healthy when you drive everywhere?

62 miles to London

We’ve just spent a lovely three days in Rye, a small, whimsical city on the South Coast of England. We drove down from London for some sorely needed time to recharge our batteries and enjoy some family time in the dog days of summer.

It was nice to get out of London for a bit, explore a new area and be reminded that there is life outside the Big Smoke.

Having a car for our mini break gave me a different vision of what life might be like. We don’t have a car, so we walk or take public transport everywhere we need to get to in London.

There are positives, like the sheer convenience and ease of getting from one place to another.

And there are a lot of negatives. The environmental cost is a big one. Another big negative is the lack of exercise. When I compare my step count (yes, I do check this quite often in the Health app on my iPhone) for the last three days to the same time last week, the difference is breathtaking.  I try to get at least 10,000 steps / 5km a day – it’s arbitrary, but it works for me.

With a car, I’ve missed the latent exercise I seem to regularly fit in, from running for the bus, standing on the tube and walking up the stairs at work.

If you drive regularly, how do you fit in exercise? Is it something you have to schedule into your diary as a can’t miss appointment? A car might be in our future, as our lives get busier and I’m keen to make sure it doesn’t have a detrimental effect on our health.

Jumping on the bandwagon and loving it.

running

Photo by Matthew Wiebe

I was never really much of an an athlete when I was younger and it was only after I graduated university that I started to embrace fitness. I started with running, then moved on weights, amongst many, many other activities. I’ve never really been one for team sports though – I’m a bit too competitive and tend to embarrass myself with my overenthusiastic cheering and geeing up of my team.

I still workout regularly, but I need variety in my workouts. Doing the same type of workout for too long bores me and I find it difficult to motivate myself to carry on.

I’ve been following Kayla Itsines on Instagram ever since reading a profile of her in the Sunday Times Style magazine. I’ve been fascinated by not only the transformations she posts, but also the devotion of the ladies that use her guides. The hashtags are numerous (#deathbykayla, #thekaylamovement, #bbgsisters, #bbgover30, etc) and when you scroll through them, it’s amazing to read the effect her workouts have had on her followers and how supportive everyone is of each other. It’s really motivating.

After hitting a plateau with my kettlebell practice, I finally took the plunge and downloaded Kayla’s Bikini Body Guide 1.0 when I got back from Jakarta in August. Cheesy name; amazing & gruelling workout. When I started the guide, I fancied myself in fairly good shape, as I had been doing lots of walking, carrying my 29 pound toddler for extended periods (#momarms), running and doing the Blogilates workouts when I had the chance.

Honestly, Kayla’s workouts are in another league. She splits her BBG 1.0 guide into 4 weeks of pre-training and 12 weeks of training. After doing the pre-training Week 1 Legs and Cardio workout, I was walking like a cowboy at work the next day!

I’ve now progressed to week 6 and I love it. The workouts are getting progressively harder, but I’m getting progressively stronger. J’s naptime is my time to workout and I’ve become quite jealous with this time. Call me obsessed, but it’s one of the few times I have to myself and it’s nice to know that I’m doing something positive with this time. And there’s enough variation in the workouts that I’m not getting bored.

My only bug bear with the guides is the number of adaptations and equipment that are required if you need to do them at home. I cancelled my gym membership in January as I was finding that it was easier for me to grab a quick 30 minutes to exercise during little J’s nap, rather than trying to find time to schlep to the gym a few times a week. I already have a medicine ball and kettlebells, but I’ve had to get creative and use my stairs for the knee-ups and weighted steps and a little bench for the decline push-ups. Here’s a nice guide to how you can use furniture, stairs and other items at home to work out with.

Have you done Kayla’s guides? What has your experience been?

Subscribe to weekly notes from our founder, Le’Nise!