Exercise helps alleviate stress and anxiety

"Exercise is a means to release all those stored up stress hormones from the body that would otherwise continue to build..."

Cortisol is a naturally occurring hormone produced by the adrenal glands, and is released during times of stress to help the body respond to the stress (think fight or flight), and is also used as an anti-inflammatory agent in local corticosteriod injections to treat persistent injuries, reducing the redness, swelling, and pain at the injury.

Unfortunately, when used too often or for a prolonged period of time, it can have negative side effects including thinning of the skin, easy bruising, weight gain, puffiness of the face, acne (steroid acne), elevation of blood pressure, cataract formation, and thinning of the bones (osteoporosis), to name a few.

During a “Fight or Flight”stress, your hypothalamus sends a signal to your adrenal glands to release adrenaline and cortisol.

Normally, these elevated hormone levels return to normal after the threat or stress has passed. But in our modern society, many people suffer from more than their share of stress (physical and mental), which leads to anxiety.

Without a form of exercise, cortisol and other stress hormones build up in the body, resulting in an immunosuppressive effect, making you more susceptible to illness or infection, raising blood pressure and increasing the risk of heart disease, as well as raising your blood sugar level contributing to diabetes. Cortisol is also catabolic, meaning that it breaks down your muscles and your system in general.

To top it all off, chronic high levels of cortisol can cause weight gain, commonly showing up on the face, shoulder blades and back of neck, and around the abdomen often accompanied by reddish-purple streaks (striae) that look like stretch marks.

Although high levels of cortisol are a contributing factor to storage of abdominal fat, too much food and not enough exercise is really what makes us fat. Stress however may lead to an increased appetite and cravings, and high levels of cortisol contribute further to store fat around the waist.

So what can we do about cortisol?

Exercise! Exercise is a means to release all those stored up stress hormones from the body that would otherwise continue to build up day after day.

Weight training in particular speeds this process and also increases human growth hormone, which helps to block the effects of cortisol.

Exercise increases the brain’s output of serotonin and dopamine, which contribute immensely to reducing stress and anxiety, and help you to feel good.

The bottom line is exercise rids the body of stress hormones, reducing anxiety, and keeps you fit and healthy.

Diana Howard is a certified elite personal trainer and specialist in nutrition and exercise therapy. To book a personal training session or for more info call 512-2295 or contact the Aquatic Centre at 364-0888.

Just Posted

In 1927, swimmers enjoyed a day in the water at the CGIT and CSET Camp in Summerland. While none of the people in this photograph have smart phones, there is some debate about whether a beach image from the United Kingdom in 1943 shows a man using a smart phone. (Photograph courtesy of the Summerland Museum)
COLUMN: The mystery of the time-travelling tourist

Was the man in a 1943 photograph checking his smart phone?

(double-click to edit)
Daryl Jolly, his wife Kerry Pagdin, their sons Cole Jolly (left) and Graeme Jolly, and their dogs Gracie and Clover. Photo: Submitted
Selkirk College arts chair diagnosed with lung cancer, family launches fund drive

In mid-May, Daryl Jolly developed a chest cough and started feeling fatigued.… Continue reading

The flotation line at Gyro Park beach in East Trail, shown here during low water, is for emergency purposes only and does not delineate a safe swimming area. Photo: Trail Times file
City of Trail cautions beach users

Gyro Park beach questions should be directed to the roads superintendent at 250.364.0817.

Presently in Canada, it is illegal to be in possession of a personal stun gun. Use of this tool is only licensed to federal and provincial police officers. The personal use of stun guns by unlicensed civilians is considered to be illegal and considered under the Canadian Criminal Code to be the equivalent of a weapon. Anyone found importing or in possession of a personal stun gun and is not a licensed law enforcement officer can be prosecuted under the Canadian Criminal Code. Photo: BC RCMP
Trail man faces weapons charge after police confiscate stun gun

The incident took place on Sunday near downtown Trail

The Fruitvale community garden is located on Beaver Street across from the municipal office. Photo: Submitted
Harvest Central Community Garden opens in Fruitvale

A growing opportunity for all Beaver Valley residents, from kindergarten and upwards

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

Two hundred and fifteen lights are placed on the lawn outside the Residential School in Kamloops, B.C., Saturday, June, 13, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former Kamloops Indian Residential School earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Days after Kamloops remains discovery, Tk’emlups families gather to unite, move ahead

‘We have to work together because this is going to be setting a precedent for the rest of the country’

In this Saturday, May 29, 2021, file photo, people crowd the Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica, Calif. California, the first state in America to put in place a coronavirus lockdown, is now turning a page on the pandemic. Most of California’s coronavirus restrictions will disappear Tuesday, June 15, 2021. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)
With COVID tamed, it’s a ‘grand reopening’ in California

No more state rules on social distancing, no more limits on capacity, no more mandatory masks

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) is scored on by Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez, not pictured, during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Monday, June 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Habs fall 4-1 to Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of NHL semifinal series

Match was Montreal’s first game outside of Canada in 2021

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

B.C. ambulance station in Revelstoke is expected to get a new system called the Scheduled On-Call (SOC) this fall. (Liam Harrap - Revelstoke Review)
B.C. ambulance changes could put Revelstoke residents at risk, warn local paramedics

Paramedics said to expect a substantial increase in ambulance response time starting this fall

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. watching U.K.’s COVID struggles but doesn’t think province will see similar pitfalls

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

Most Read