Walkabout: The Benefits from Walking for Adrenal Fatigue

A woman with adrenal fatigue getting the benefits from walkingAustralian aborigines walked around in the desert until they found what they were seeking, a sort of spiritual fulfillment or something that made them feel complete or accomplished. New research confirms what seems obvious: There are many health benefits from walking or maybe they were simply out seeking a slightly stimulated heart rate and a nice light sweat while taking in the natural landscape.

While many around the world run or do other, more extreme forms of exercise, JUST walking can improve your outlook on life and ease your fatigue. And while the former exercises (e.g., running, jogging, and most team sports) can cause long-term, lasting damage to your body, walking has all of the benefits with none of the drawbacks.

A recent study of those with Parkinson’s disease has shown the benefits from walking. Parkinson’s is a systemic disease, meaning that it manifests throughout the body with a broad suite of symptoms. Less severe, but similar in its systemic nature, Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome sufferers may also reap such benefits from walking. In its Parkinson’s study, roughly 50 people were tracked, ages 50 to 80, having them wear monitors, and they were asked to keep a record of their exercise. Their walking speed was just less than 3 miles per hour when averaged out.

Benefits From Walking

Over the course of half of a year, improvements were noted in motor function, levels of fatigue, executive function, quality of life, and mood. 150 minutes a week of such exercise for those suffering from Parkinson’s shows great promise for relief. If something so simple can help the prognosis of a systemic disease, it seems like an obvious behavioral choice. Likewise, if those with Parkinson’s can and are encourage to participate in such activities, it shouldn’t be of concern for those with AFS, unless in the deep stages or bedridden. It’s always good to have a professional with AFS experience to check that this activity is ok for you; especially if you’re not sure you can handle much walking.

To understand why walking may not be suitable for your body, it is necessary to discuss how stress changes the body. They body deals with stress via the neuroendometabolic stress response system, a network of constituent functional systems distributed across multiple organs and organ systems. When the adrenal glands initialize the body in reaction to a stressful experience, its influence radiates out through the NEM network in an activation cascade, putting the entire body in a stress response state. If the entire body is left in this activated state, it quickly drains the body’s nutritional reserves and depletes adrenal function, leading to Adrenal Fatigue.

One of the many symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue is a drawdown of exercise capacity, getting so severe in some cases as to become exercise intolerance. Exercise, while necessary to keep the body healthy, also causes stress. When the NEM stress response system is already causing dysfunction throughout the body in the case of Adrenal Fatigue, it is very easy to overshoot the threshold of stress the body can deal with. This causes a functional decompensation event known as an adrenal crash that pushes the body into worse and more advanced stages of the condition. Fortunately, most cases of Adrenal Fatigue never get so severe, and thus for the majority of sufferers, walking is a high recommended exercise.

Physical and psychological benefits from walkingWalking for 30 minutes, 5 times a week may help your AFS symptoms and is almost always safe and easily accessible. There are several things to keep in mind when starting to incorporate walking into your routine. Make sure to eat a snack before and after a walk. If you have a drop in energy up to 6 hours after your walk, make sure to reduce your time spent walking and the intensity of the walk. If you are weak, start the Adrenal Breathing Exercises or Adrenal Yoga Exercises before starting any walking regimen.

With mood issues, difficult getting around, and extreme fatigue, walking regularly can be very beneficial for those with the ability to get around, improving all of these factors and possibly completing that vision quest alluded to in the Aboriginal lifestyle. Western ideas often embrace goals, but more and more research is showing that it’s the journey and not the destination that is so valuable in our lives. Perhaps it’s time we start our journey to a healthier life?

Benefits from walking


  • Susie says:

    Hi Dr. Lam, Thank you for all the great information! After I walk for about 10-15 minutes at a slow/normal pace, my temperature decreases and I feel fatigued. I am trying to build up stamina after being bed ridden from a crash – is this normal or am I trying to do too much? Thank you!

    • Dr.Lam says:

      Glad that you are being empowered in your recovery journey. Building up stamina requires a very systemic approach when you have been bedridden. Excessive exercise before the body is ready can lead to symptoms you mentioned. Do not forget to focus on your core in addition to aeorbic capacity. The adrenal yoga exercises are excellent along with walking. Click DVD – Adrenal Yoga Exercise – Volumes 1 – 4 for more information.

      Dr Lam

      • Susie says:

        Thank you for your prompt and helpful reply! What are good ways to gauge if you are doing too much too fast? I feel fatigued most of the time, whether I walk or not. From my understanding, as you do more, your energy should increase over time. Are there other signs to look for?

        • Dr.Lam says:

          If your body is getting stronger, you would feel less fatigue over time when you are doing all kinds of activities provided they are not extreme. Depending on exercise to help generate energy and to feel good is not long term and is short lived. Epinephrine released during exercise can give more energy, but usually followed by a crash post exercise.

          Dr Lam.

  • Cass says:

    What are decent alternatives to walking? I suffer from shin splints and walking is uncomfortable for me, and I feel very drained afterwards.