Exercise for Optimal Women's Health

womens health

Probably one of my favorite topics, being a woman for almost 60 years, a doctor for over half that, and a bit of a health freak for even longer. I suppose it all started when I decided at 20 to resist growing old, well, at least the LOOK of growing old. It has become a fascinating journey, and the newer discoveries in genetics, epigenetics, hormones, nutrition, environment, mind, body, and mind-body research, in truth, haven’t changed a thing.

What has changed is my ability to profess how it works and hope to impress on one or somehow truly dynamic and healing the human body is, how desperately it wants to live and live beautifully, given even just the basics of what it needs to live.

I love to talk about the ‘FEMALE STRESS AXIS.’

Just the concept that this exists and we have ways to doctor it naturally to offer hope to women who have been worn out, stressed out, suffered hormone dysregulation, pain, insomnia, slow metabolism, sugar cravings, heart flutter, mood swings, infertility, and central obesity! Men have a Stress Axis too, but it doesn’t come in 28-day cycles or get re-worked for childbearing and menopause.

I teach that this axis starts in the brain.

First the Hypothalamus, which protrudes into the blood stream and tastes it for hormones, salt, sugar, temperature, and the like. It reacts quickly by sending chemical messengers to the Pituitary or throws a hot flash if estrogen is tanking. The Pituitary, in turn, sends chemical messengers down the axis to the Thyroid to put out more or fewer thyroid hormones. Hmm, we all hear about the thyroid often, but not the others. There are still The Adrenals and The Ovaries. Now we are getting hormonal! The adrenals are the manufacturing plant for over 200 hormones. These glands make sex hormones, bone-making hormones, blood pressure indicating hormones, and stress hormones to name a few.


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All the organs along this axis have receptors for incoming hormones, and the ability to produce out-going hormones, which are messengers to other organs…So here is where it gets into your health. Suppose the brain organs are not functioning well, or the thyroid is toxic, or the adrenals are overworked and producing stress hormones, cortisol in particular. It hurts in every way, there isn’t enough basic material left to create happy hormones like serotonin and oxytocin, Vitamin D, DHEA, good estrogens, testosterone, etc. What we get is a really unhealthy body, a lot of belly fat, foggy thinking, pulse, breathing, mood, and sleep issues. This is no way for a woman to get healthy. Or so it would seem.

You see, the whole problem is STRESS. This is the STRESS axis we are talking about, and the trouble all starts with stress. The brain cannot tell if the stress is social, financial, physical, emotional, toxins, or sugary foods. The same cascade occurs. Yes, we can keep our food clean, steer clear of pro-inflammatory foods, particularly sugar, clear some toxins with all kinds of special clinical procedures. We can support any and all of the organs along this stress axis for women, and this is what we do in our clinic, unburden and feed the organs, adjust the spine, so they have an optimal nerve supply, like plugging them in for full function. This works very well and is part one of the lifetime pursuit of total health and wellness.

“You see, the whole problem is STRESS. This is the STRESS axis we are talking about, and the trouble all starts with stress.”

I say part one because there is one other thing we women can do to calm the stress coming into the nervous system, one thing, and I will encourage you with all the decades of my experience and life to do, is to exercise daily.

Just do it. You bet! I don’t care your age or state.

womens healthJust do it. Have kids? Run them in the stroller, put them into childcare at the club for an hour and go sweat! Jump with them on the trampoline, roll with them on the floor. When my kids were old enough, we had the whole gang at Brick Bodies lined up on treadmills. We biked and skated or swam every day we could. Now that they are old, and I am not, I go to Zumba and BodyJam as a favorite addiction. As we age, it is helpful to dance and practice yoga, nothing like working balance and grace for keeping your brain alive and your joints mobile!

Personally, I have had a blast being a member of Brick Bodies for over 30 years. And my female stress axis doesn’t feel remotely stressed! Just flowing healthily through the seasons of life, just the way nature intended. The variety of classes available, 20 tv’s, a world-class pool, 24-hour access (in some locations), and the most under-recognized factor in long-term youthful living is the friendly atmosphere, where everyone has a similar goal, are feeling great, and willing to share a chat and a laugh. I think it is some darned good medicine!

If you have questions or concerns with health and endocrine restoration, please phone me personally, or email, drdownes@downeshealth.com

Let’s Get You Well!



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Certified Chiropractic Sports Physician, Diplomate in Clinical Nutrition, Fellow, International Academy of Medical Acupuncture, Functional Medicine Specialist, Certified Practioner, NET, Board Certified in Quantitative EEG Neurofeedback.