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Exercise & Cortisol


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I am about to start the Whole 30, but have been paleo for a few months. I've also started attending Pure Barre classes. I've literally gone from couch to barre. My worry, is what I've read and heard about cardio and cortisol, and I'm not sure if I should stop going to the classes and go back to doing nothing. Can anyone shed some light please?

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Doing nothing is always a terrible idea, sorry (unless you have health conditions). Bare minimum of walking is what you need to support your health. 


What are your stress levels otherwise? Do you have injures/health conditions that prevent you from exercising? Context matters big time here. 


Honestly, I would not be concerned (I do ballet myself). Barre class by no means is a "chronic cardio" that has negative effect on your hormones. Moderate production of cortisol in response to exercising is beneficial if your lifestyle is healthy otherwise (sleep, stress management and good diet). Chronically elevated cortisol is what you want to avoid. 


P.S. I hope my post didn't come across as a rude/judgmental. Kudos for doing whole30 and get yourself moving. 


Also, good read. Whole9 health equation.

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My stress level isn't that high. We recently became empty nester, so I'm sad, but not depressed. I'm taking this time to get serious about my health. I have high blood pressure and am always borderline diabetic. I am trying to change that. I need to lose about 60-70lbs. I guess that's why I worried about the cortisol. I really want to keep up with the barre classes, but don't want to do more harm than good. And I didn't take your response badly. Sometimes I need someone to tell me straight out.

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Are your barre classes stressing you out?  I'm not sure I'm following, but are you worried that the classes add to your stress; therefore, increasing cortisol levels?


I think inactivity makes cortisol levels go through the roof.  I don't consider walking a minimum but actually something I can do for the rest of my life until I'm ready for the marble orchards.


I know everyone is a runner but I'm not.  I'm not going to start either.  I walk and hike up steep hills.  It's working just fine for me.  So why not enjoy your class?  I know what you're talking about.  On June 1st, I was where you are right now....everything you said, ditto.  

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I see what you mean. Good for you for giving your lifestyle a revision. If you've said that you work shift job, sleep 6 hours per night and nursing a baby then I'd say eat/sleep/stretch/repeat/don't come close to the barre.


Are you all doing high intensity stuff for an hour straight with your heart ready to stop? Unlikely. I think you will be perfectly fine doing classes + walking as much as you can.  


Barre classes are lovely and I personally consider it an almost recovery/meditation category (I do classic ballet, no modification to barre bootcamp and whatnot classes out there). Yes, it's a lot of work for lean muscles, but it gives me such a mood/energy boost. Not to mention that it's good for your posture/arm/shoulder alignment. Watch out for the jumps (they can have an impact on your knees) and chat with the instructor for modification if needed. 

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  • Whole30 Certified Coach

MDA had a good post about "chronic" cardio a while back.  He made a distinction between cardio exercise for people who loved to get out and do what they were doing and people who felt like they needed to go out and exercise.  Might be worth a read.





Also, I don't know anything about barre classes but isn't that also flexibility and body weight movements?  Kind of like yoga?  I wouldn't consider that chronic cardio - especially if you like it!

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