Stress messes with your metabolism Cortisol sits within a class of hormones called ‘glucocorticoids’, which increase blood glucose levels. It promotes the metabolism of carbohydrates, protein and fats and taps into your existing stores to free up energy during severe periods of stress.
With energy levels raging, and no way of burning it off – because you’re at your desk rather than in a jungle – your body releases (energy-storing) insulin in an attempt to calm things down. Cortisol reacts by dumping most of the energy as dangerous visceral fat. For this reason, being chronically stressed can fast track you to a swollen belly, even if you eat like an athlete.
Short periods of stress can be beneficial for performance, focus and motivation, but prolonged or overly high levels can have a detrimental effect on our health, stress can happen so often we don’t even notice it after a while, it becomes our normal state.
The solution: Get moving – gently. Take a break from your strenuous sweat session and focus on low-intensity aerobic exercise: things like walking, jogging, swimming, and cycling. Yoga is also a great shout.
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Photo credit: Men’s Health UK