Exercise for Stress Relief: Combat the Most Common hormone Imbalance Over 50
Have you experienced sudden weight gain especially around the stomach?
Do your eyes pop open at 1am or late into the night?
Are you in dire need of an afternoon nap, but by 11pm you’ve got a second wind, and you’re wide awake?
Have you recently gone through a stressful experience?
If you’re in menopause, do you have severe hot flashes? Have you had them for years without relent?
If the answer is Yes to most of these questions, then congratulations, you’re showing signs of one of the most common hormone imbalances I see in women over 50.
This imbalance is most common during menopause and postmenopause.
You may have an imbalance with your stress hormone, Cortisol.
While Naturopaths and Holistic practitioners coin imbalances of cortisol, or high cortisol as Adrenal Fatigue, the medical world has yet to recognize it as a health risk.
Yet, one thing that all health care experts can agree on is high cortisol increases belly fat, increases your severity and frequency of hot flashes and increases your risk of chronic diseases such as type II diabetes and heart disease.
When you’re exhausted, feel anxious, depressed or stressed, it may seem strange that you can exercise for stress relief.
Movement is important, but the type of movement you do is drastically different than any exercise program you may have done in the past.
Today we’ll go through exactly how to exercise for stress relief . You’ll learn how to regulate your cortisol, and create calm and strength within your body.
This strategy has the power to reduce the severity of your hot flashes, help you sleep better, reduce your risk of type II diabetes and heart disease and melt away the belly fat associated with these conditions.
Why Does Cortisol Rise During Menopause and Postmenopause?
Once your estrogen levels decline during menopause your body starts to produce estrogen through other means.
For example, you gain weight more easily, (fat cells produce estrogen.)
Your adrenal glands (otherwise known as your stress glands) also begin to work twice as hard, as they take on a new role to produce small amounts of the hormone progesterone as well as androstenedione (a precursor for estrogen).
As a result, your stress hormones produced by the adrenal glands are affected. Specifically, Cortisol rises.
The natural circadian rhythm of your stress hormone is also affected. This occurs when there’s a breakdown within the cortisol producing system known as the H-P-A axis.
Here’s how it works:
In theory, Cortisol works in a cyclical fashion:
You’d wake up energized and full of life thanks to cortisol, which peaks to its highest first thing in the morning.
As the day goes on, Cortisol levels taper off until night falls.
You’d become sleepy as cortisol falls to it’s very lowest.
- You may wake up exhausted: Cortisol is low when it should be high
- You may need an afternoon nap: Cortisol reaches an all-time low in the afternoon
- You may get a second wind at night: Cortisol rises high when it should fall
- You may wake up in the middle of the night: Cortisol rises at night
So stress levels rise, and the natural rhythm of your cortisol may shift. Then you couple it with a lifetime of daily stressors:
- You’ve worked hard and you’ve worked long hours all while you juggling family responsibilities, raising kids and taking care of the family
- Maybe you’ve taken care of sick parents. Maybe you’re still taking care of sick parents
- Maybe you’ve watched loved ones pass
- Life’s been busy and you’re in survival mode (or you’ve recently come out of survival mode)
This creates a perfect storm for high or irregular Stress hormone patterns.
Exercise for Stress Relief: Balance Cortisol, Release Belly Fat and Achieve optimal Health:
If you’re trying to exercise for stress relief, you’re already way ahead of the game, but the exercise formula to balance your stress is much different than any program you’ve tried before.
Here’s what you’ll need to do:
Ditch the long and vigorous workouts, at least until you can get your stress levels back in balance.
Without even realizing it, those long vigorous workouts are taxing an already fatigued stress system, creating insulin resistance, leaving you depleted and packing on the pounds.
Swap cardio for Belly breathing: this begins to activate your calming parasympathetic system. You begin to reduce cortisol and create cortisol balance.
You feel more at peace, you release muscle tension, heart tension and return to a state of optimal health as you reduce insulin and you allow your body to release stored belly fat.
Do a resistance program that includes a relaxing stretch in between each exercise: Resistance training replenishes lean muscle that may have been broken down by cortisol. It also raises and regulates hormones that may be suppressed by cortisol.
Keep your heart rate low and slow: The higher your rate, the more you call on cortisol.
Make sure your heart rate between 65%- 70% of your max. You should be able to keep a full conversation.
One strategy I use with clients suffering from high stress (or adrenal fatigue) is to do belly breathing in between each resistance exercise while they stretch.
Keep your workouts under 45 minutes:
Cortisol levels rise drastically after 45 minutes of exercise so it’ important to keep your workouts under the 45-minute mark to keep your cortisol balanced.
I’ve created a Free workout plan that puts all of these workout steps into practice. You can go to https://aliciajoneshealthyliving.com/stressbelly
By now we’ve reached the end of hormone week. We spoke about meeting your hormones where they are to reduce belly bloat and to reduce belly fat, as well as to achieve optimal health in this next chapter of life.
We spoke about the most common hormone imbalance. Cortisol, and how your workout strategy changes, not only to release belly fat, but to feel calm and strong, to manage stress and get your body and health back.
You may have questions, or you may feel as if you’re still not sure of what to do to balance your hormone shifts.
If you feel like nothing you’re throwing out there is working
If you feel like you’ve been trying to find your unique formula to lose weight and feel really proud in your jeans but it’s not working
If you feel you want your energy back to be able to enjoy your family moments more, to play with the grandkids, to enjoy your long walks
Then don’t do this alone. Book a FREE strategy call with me where we can:
Look at your current symptoms, go through your goals
Identify the problems, the blocks and the challenges that have been blocking you from getting the results you deserve
Get crystal clear on what action steps you need to take in order feel really healthy, energized and lose weight on your terms. And to see if you’re eligible to work with me inside either one-on-one or with one of my programs