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Is Stress Making You Fat?

Itís true, stress can make you fat. Itís because of a hormone called cortisol. This hormone is always present in your body, but your body secretes it at higher levels when itís under stress. Cortisol has positive effects on when itís secreted in small amounts Ė it gives you bursts of energy, increases memory function and lowers pain sensitivity. However, when secreted I larger amounts, Cortisol can have negative effects on your body and your health. It is necessary for us to reduce our stress level to keep cortisol levels under control. The thing is, we live in such a high-stress culture that some peopleís secretion of cortisol doesnít slow down and they live in a state of what is called chronic stress.

Chronic stress sufferers end up having many negative effects because of the high levels of cortisol in their systems. The effects include blood sugar imbalances, high blood pressure and increased abdominal fat. This is caused partially by the fact the people who secrete high levels of cortisol tend to eat more in general, and more specifically carbohydrates, than their counterparts who secrete less cortisol during stressful situations. This excess abdominal fat alone can be detrimental to your health because it increases your risks of heart attacks, strokes, and bad cholesterol.

The best way to combat the negative effects of high levels of cortisol is to give yourself opportunities to reduce your stress and ďkick-inĒ your bodyís relaxation mechanisms. Most people do know that physical exercise is a great stress reliever. But what they donít know is that most traditional forms of exercise such as running, walking and jogging and aerobics classes only serve to help reduce the bodyís physical effects of stress. To get the full benefits of physical and mental stress reduction, people need to find activities that work their bodies and minds.

Training martial arts does this. Itís impossible to train martial arts without fully concentrating on what you are doing. This concentration helps your mind relieve its stress as well. Activities like martial arts that require you to concentrate on your movements and core strength give you a well-rounded stress relief; not just on your body, but on your mind as well.
At the Academy of Kempo Martial Arts we use Shoalin breathing methods effectively accomplishing this goal of combating everyday stress. These kung fu breathing methods (which have been refined over 1500 years) include physical movements which relieve the physical symptoms of stress, and breathing patterns which clear the mind and relieve mental stress. Training these methods will help to bring down your levels of cortisol, which can help relieve another stressor in your lifeÖneeding to lose those few extra pounds.

So if your diet isnít working it might be stress. Combat stress and get in better shape by training the mind and the body with martial arts. Combined with a healthy diet and a positive life style you cant beat it!

To your health,

Robert Jones
Master Instructor
The Academy of Kempo Martial Arts
Bellevue, WA.

To Your Heath,

Robert Jones
The Academy of Kempo Martial Arts
Bellevue, WA.

About the Author: For more information on this article or others go to Articles on Martial Arts

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