When I am feeling a little lost or out of tune with things I always trust in wise old mother nature to pave the way to better health, happiness, vitality, strength and well-being. She is of course the reigning force which embraces and connects all life cycles – humans, plants, animals, water, the sun, the moon, genetic expression, evolution, and so on. When we are all beautifully tuned and schynchronised everything moves and thrives with the least amount of effort. Unfortunately modern mankind confused sleeping and waking times and made poor non nourishing food choices. The resultant negative brain patterns then wreak havoc on a number of things including our ability to gauge what kind of exercise we should be taking and when. Sadly we have taken it to both extremes with people who train far too hard, fast and frequently, and people who sit all day and still fail to walk the escalators en route home.
It’s time to check in – is your exercise plan in sync with your hormonal cycle, the current season, your energy levels, emotional state, sleep patterns, as well as your eating patterns…? Below I have outlined a few of our main cycles to help get you back into mother natures arms.
HORMONAL CYCLE which mimics the LUNA/MOON CYCLE
Men and post menopausal women still take note! as you too have hormonal and lunar influenced cycles, they’re just less pronounced.
Week 1: Follicular stage (menstruation has just ended)
Low levels of estrogen, progesterone and testosterone
Workout: cardio / try something new
Week 2: Ovulatory phase (most fertile)
Spike in estrogen, testosterone and folicular stimulating hormone
Feeling really energised
Workout: strength training, high intensity/interval training
Week 3: Lutieal Phase (PMS)
Increase in progesteron, estrogen, testosterone in the first half of the week then all drop by the end of the week
Feeling slightly energised in the first half of the week, then decrease by the end of the week (two different feelings in one week)
Exercise: Yoga, Pilates, Gyrotonics – slow, deep, strong elasticated and focussed movements
Week 4: Menstruation
Low testosterone, estrogen and progesterone
Feeling low in energy, contemplative
Exercise: long gentle walks outdoors, gentle yoga, pilates and gyrotonic classes
SEASONAL CYCLE which mimics our 24HR/ DAY CYCLE
24hr cycle: it’s morning time! time to wake up and plan a new day!
Spring is a time when energy rises from the earth, plants are growing upward and heat is rising.
During this season we can start to increase our outdoor activities with long spritely walks which may break into short spontaneous runs! Also add in some gentle dynamic movement classes – look up a primal movement class! or attend a flowing dance, Pilates, yoga or Gyrotonic class.
24hr cycle: it’s the action part of our day! pay attention and get things done!
Summer is a time for the sun to warm the the earth, for plants to flower and sprout and for energy to explode and uplift.
During this season we can be outdoors as much as possible! A lot of long distance walking and/or running interspersed with a few explosive interval or high intensity/weight training sessions.
24hr cycle: it’s time to cool down, slow our pace and contemplate the day
Autumn is a time for energy to return to the earth, to harvest and celebrate.
During this season we slow down a gear. Long, slow, gentle walks, runs, cycle rides outdoors. Iyenga yoga or choose a class that favours a lot of inward attention and focus.
24hr cycle: It’s time to rest! sleep and regenerate
Winter is the time for activity to go below ground level, all is a lot quieter and rested up above
During this season we take longer to warm up and we may feel tense from the cold so breath work becomes even more important when beginning your training. Short brisk walks outdoors and slow gentle runs with plenty of warm clothing layers. Choose classes that are paced evenly, are strong and build on intensity.
All in all this post is an invitation to acknowledge the strong natural forces around you: to be aware of them and of how much they act like mirrors – we all have more influence on each others state of health and well-being than we realise!