CORTISOL AND YOUR CORE
Have you been performing countless crunches and endless cardio and still cannot lose excess abdominal fat?
Many factors can contribute to abdominal fat, the first being food. As you have read in my other blog posts, I advise cutting back on fats and oils and increasing whole plant foods to help you become healthy and fit. Another factor that can contribute to weight gain, especially abdominal fat, is the hormone cortisol. Cortisol helps the body use glucose for energy. It also helps the body manage stress and increases blood pressure. In normal circumstances or when we are under brief periods of stress cortisol is helpful. Problems occur when cortisol levels become elevated due to prolonged stress. High cortisol is linked to obesity (especially abdominal fat), metabolic syndrome, loss of sleep, mood issues, Type 2 diabetes, and abnormal blood sugar.
Firstly, if you suspect you may have high cortisol due to chronic stress, I recommend you see your doctor to get tested. Secondly, you may want to take a break from high intensity workouts that raise cortisol and try hatha yoga, meditation, and breathing exercises to lower your stress. Deep breathing and the mind/body connection during a yoga class will soothe your body and calm your mind.
To tone up your Core add the exercises in this video and practice this simple breathing exercise:
Nadi Sodhana Pranayama – The alternate nostril breath has a purifying and calming effect on the nerves. It helps to regulate energy through the brain and the body. You may close your eyes during this breathing exercise.
1. Using your right hand bend your index and middle fingers back letting them rest on your palm.
2. Place your thumb on the your right nostril
3. Place your ring and little fingers on the left nostril
4. Exhale completely and gently close the right nostril with your thumb
5. Inhale through your left nostril
6. Close your left nostril and release your thumb and exhale out your right nostril
7. Inhale through your right nostril, close your right nostril, and continue finishing on the exhalation through your left nostril