What you need to know about the “stress hormone.”
Cortisol is a hormone produced by your adrenal glands. We all need cortisol to help us react to stressful situations, especially those requiring a “fight or flight” reaction. Our bodies react to stress by giving us a quick burst of energy, lowering our sensitivity to pain and increasing our attention and memory. Once the crisis passes, the body relaxes and allows the cortisol to process out of the blood stream.
We lower the level of cortisol when we sleep, relax, exercise, and laugh. The problem comes when a constant state of stress doesn’t allow our bodies to get rid of the hormone.
Over time high levels of cortisol can:
- Increase belly fat
- Raise risk of heart attack
- Raise risk of stroke
- Raise blood pressure
- Lower your body’s ability to heal or resist infection
- Decrease bone density
- Throw blood sugar out of balance
- Lower brain function
- Interfere with your thyroid
Fortunately simple strategies to allow your body to recharge are very effective in lowering your cortisol levels. Find some ideas to help you recharge.
Pay attention to your stress and take time to recharge every day!
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Eliz Greene is the Busy Woman’s Guide to Health. Drawing on her experience surviving a massive heart attack while seven-months pregnant with twins, struggling to lose the 80 pounds gained during her pregnancy, and her background as an adaptive movement specialist, Eliz developed simple strategies and tips to help other busy women be more active, eat better and manage your stress.
As the Director of the Embrace Your Heart Wellness Initiative, Eliz travels the country energizing and inspiring audiences in keynotes and workshops on women’s heart health. She writes one of the top 100 health and wellness blogs. Find more at www.EmbraceYourHeart.com.