Cortisol is a stress hormone, produced as part of the fight or flight response to help increase glucose levels in the blood. This is what helps the body fight or run from a dangerous situation!
As your body produces cortisol responding to a threat, it shuts down less critical functions like reproduction and immunity allowing the body to concentrate on surviving the immediate threat. Although this can be useful when triggered during physical activity, a modern lifestyle that involves high levels of stress, especially in the sedentary corporate environment, may lead to excessive amounts of cortisol in your system. Regular exercise can help reduce your cortisol and stress levels.
With stress being slowly built, the body believes it is constantly under threat, with no crescendo to announce the danger has passed so cortisol levels keep rising.
An early evening high intensity workout or heavy deadlifting session can be the crescendo your body needs to flick the switch on cortisol. You should view your workout as therapy for your body!
“View your workout as therapy for your body!”
Too much cortisol for too long can have a multitude of negative effects. One of the most noticeable is weight gain as your body tries to fight fatigue you will crave more sugary foods. It also reduces protein synthesis which can reduce muscle mass. It also curbs levels of human growth hormone and sex hormones, which can reduce libido and fertility in both males and females. Furthermore the increase in weight and long term elevated sugar levels in the blood increase the chances of developing diabetes over the very long term.
It is all reversible if the right steps are taken. Change of the stressful environment is number one and actually more important that exercise in this situation. Exercise can help manage stress levels but should not be a long term solution to
If you would like to learn how to de-stress and use exercise for therapy of your body contact me now for a free consultation.