Adrenal exhaustion is a serious and unfortunately, very common problem among many. The body feels like it cannot get enough rest. Consistently tired, there seems to be no drive, no motivation, and the ability to move or work is often depressed. Emotional states can fluctuate, as do sleep patterns, and the ability to regulate day to day lifestyle routines is disrupted because of hormone and neurotransmitter disturbances.

Your adrenal glands are responsible for regulating cortisol, your primary stress hormone. They aid in the production of estrogen, progesterone, adrenaline and sex hormones. When the adrenal glands are affected by chronic stress, it impacts their proper function and can lead to an imbalance in hormone production. When it reaches this point, the last thing you may want to do is exercise, but exercising may actually be one of the best things you can do for yourself.

With adrenal exhaustion, the motivation to stay healthy, especially through physical activity, is reduced significantly. There simply is not enough energy to do everything. This makes it all the more important to implement an exercise program that will contribute to stress reduction and enhance overall well being.

The best workouts should include low impact, physical activity. High impact exercise can run the risk of tiring you out even more and make it difficult to recover.

Get moving with these adrenal recovery exercises.

Family walking in nature


It is a whole body exercise that can be done at all ages. Low impact walking can work to exercise the complex muscle system in your feet and legs, handling balance and quizzical terrain with each step. Hiking in the natural world is another good form of walking. Often the exposure to the great outdoors can have aesthetic and healing qualities, mentally, physically and emotionally. “Forest Bathing” has been practiced in Japan for years, by walking through a forest barefoot and immersing yourself in Mother Nature. Pick diverse routes that feel safe and alluring, but not too taxing on your system. They should be areas that are stimulating to the mind and body.

Woman doing yoga near a waterfall


Yoga has long been a low-impact, all ages form of exercise that is about centering the body and mind. Its physical benefits of injury protection and increased circulatory health help to keep you moving. Integrating mindfulness practices during yoga can also add to strengthening the mind against the potential “burn out” symptoms that adrenal fatigue can cause.

Mindfulness training is the ability to perceive one’s emotions, decisions, and rationalities from a distance. Taking time to practice it, to look at the personal state without emotionally judging, often provides context and clarity to certain issues. This develops a certain kind of understanding, which can result in less triggering of the flight-versus-fight response.

man swimming in pool


While comparable in calorie burning to running, the kind of swimming done to benefit the adrenals should be low key and low impact. Swimming improves your breathing and circulation, because developing a rhythm with each stroke can help improve energy and better oxygen utilization, as oxygen is a catalyst for energy. Good breathing techniques taken out of the context of swimming can aid in subtle changes in a stress response.

There are many other low key exercises that can help rebuild the body while dealing with adrenal exhaustion. Many gentle forms of martial arts, such as Tai Chi or Qi Gong, are low-impact and low intensity, but can still get your blood moving. Remember to listen to your body, to push yourself when you’re able to and rest when you must. Every person is different in the way they respond. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else. This is your journey and the goal is to work toward your definition of health and well-being.