Cortisol is a stress hormone that is secreted by 2 small glands just above the kidneys. This hormone was put there by mother nature to help us deal with a flight or fight kind of situation that you would have had when man was running from lions or bears. Every time the body is stressed these glands release cortisol to handle the stress chemically. Its job is to convert stored energy sources into usable energy that can save your life. Today however, there is stress everywhere.
These chronic and frequent rises in cortisol are very detrimental to your mental and also your physical health. It has been linked to heart disease, high cholesterol, depression, high blood pressure, and pretty much everything else that you can think of that stress creates for your body. Other unwanted side effects of high levels of cortisol are storage of excess fat, especially around the mid section, depressed sex drive in both men and women, and the break down of muscle tissue.
The rest of this article is devoted to giving you information that will help you to get more control over your cortisol levels on a daily basis.
1: Do not miss meals. Eating frequent small meals during the course of a day is very important for many reasons. Skipping meals alone will release high levels of cortisol into your body.
2: Eat right for your body’s metabolic rate. Excess carbohydrate intake can create cortisol release because your body is responding to raised levels of insulin that is caused by carbs. Find out your own metabolic rate and eat accordingly.
3: Get to sleep at a reasonable hour. Not getting the proper amount of sleep is one of the biggest stressors that you can put on your body. If at all possible get a minimum of 7 hours of sleep per night.
4: Do not over train. Listen to your body. If you do not feel like you are totally recovered from a previous workout, do not do another one until you know that you are ready. If you must workout then make sure that you are reducing the number of sets and the number of reps that you are doing. Do not over do it.
5: Keep your workouts under an hour. 45 minutes is the perfect time. After an hour of physical exercise your body will begin to produce high levels of cortisol. This is especially true when it comes to weight training.
6: Use stress reducing techniques like meditation, and yoga. Simply lying on the floor and using controlled breathing for 5 or 10 minutes can work wonders at reducing stress therefore reducing cortisol release.
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Here’s to wishing you a leaner, healthier, stronger body!