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6 Ways to Beat The Stress Hormone

6 Ways to Beat The Stress Hormone

Cortisol is a hormone released by your body in response to fear, stress or anxiety. This hormone is associated with a variety of negative health effects. Depression, memory loss, heart disease and obesity are all conditions that are connected to an increased level of this hormone. Although reducing stress is often easier said than done, there are many specific things that you can do to lower your body’s amount of cortisol.

1. Start Exercising

Exercise lowers your body’s amount of cortisol in a number of ways. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins. Endorphins improve your mood and cause you to feel happy. While you feel this way, any feelings of stress will fade into the back of your mind. As a regular exercise program improves your health and appearance, you’ll probably also feel more confident in general. Confidence decreases the feelings of fear and stress that causes your body to release cortisol.

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2. Practice Meditation

Meditation is another practice that helps to decrease your cortisol levels for many reasons. If there is a specific reason why you are experiencing stress, meditation is a way to directly address this issue so that you can understand it on a deeper level and realize that it is not worth all of the negative emotions that it is causing you to experience.

Some forms of meditation also focus on creating a state of mental calmness and physical relaxation that helps to promote positive feelings throughout the day which will decrease the amount of cortisol in your body.

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3. Listen to Music

Studies have shown that listening to music has an effect on your body chemistry. You don’t necessarily have to listen to ambient, relaxing music to reduce cortisol, either. Although listening to something calming will promote a mellow state of mind, any music that you enjoy listening to has the power to improve your mood and lower the harmful levels of cortisol in your body.

4. Go Fishing

Activities such as fishing and boating are ideal to fight stress, because they separate you from your daily routine, both physically and mentally. Fishing provides an escape from your routine and gives you the time to meditate on your problems and search for peace in natural surroundings. Going on a fishing trip is also an opportunity to end the day with a good catch that is rich both in protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are very important to keep cortisol and adrenaline from spiking when you are feeling tense. Short of ideas on how to prepare and cook your catch? Try these healthy fish recipes.

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5. Practice Yoga

The benefits of yoga are many and varied, from reducing stress to weight loss, to increasing flexibility. Many of the techniques that are used in yoga are also used in stress management. This makes yoga one of the most effective ways to deal with stress and fatigue. The combination of breathing exercises, stretching techniques, meditation, and mental imagery helps to make yoga a wonderful way to combat stress and enhance psychological well-being.

6. Eat a Healthy Diet

As with most of the issues that have to do with body chemistry, a diet that’s high in green leafy vegetables, citrus fruits and fish can help reduce the levels of cortisol.

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You should also aim to reduce your intake of sugar, caffeine, and processed carbohydrates as they can promote stress and anxiety.

High levels of cortisol can have dire effects on your overall health. You can reduce the amount of this hormone in your body by following these simple lifestyle changes. Taking control of your stress levels ensures that you will have a happier, healthier life.

Featured photo credit: fotosearch via fscomps.fotosearch.com

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

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    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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