Many people begin exercise programs with the goal of losing weight, building muscle, or both. However, there is another positive effect of exercising regularly and that is the fact that it can help ease your stress, making it a necessity when it comes to living a higher quality of life. It does this by lowering your levels of two major stress hormones, adrenaline and cortisol, and increasing your level of anti-stress hormones called endorphins.
Adrenaline is good for your body in that it is responsible for helping you fight or flee dangerous situations. However, when your body is under constant stress, it is like it gets stuck in this ready-for-action mode, which takes a toll on you. Not only is it physically exhausting to stay in this state, but constant adrenaline release is bad for your circulatory system. Fortunately, regular exercise lowers your body’s adrenaline levels, getting your body back to more natural, relaxed, and safer levels of this particular hormone.
The stress hormone cortisol is largely responsible for abdominal fat, which is the one type of fat that is easy to gain, hard to lose, and the most dangerous for your health. Add that to the emotional eating most people tend to do when they are feeling the pressure and it is a recipe for weight gain that is sure to make you feel even worse. Luckily, research has found that a consistent exercise program also lowers cortisol levels, which means that you’ll not only feel better physically and mentally when you work out regularly, but it will make you healthier on the inside too.
Endorphins released during exercise are often referred to as natural pain killers because they have such a positive effect on the human body. Additionally, in times of stress, you may notice more aches and pains thanks to tight muscles that never get to release, making this pain-free effect even more satisfying. Endorphin release has also been linked to lower levels of depression, which is all the more reason to exercise and begin to feel better again.
Engage in regular exercise and you will lower your adrenaline and cortisol levels while increasing your levels of endorphins. Your body—and mind—will thank you!