When it comes to healthy living, there are certain component of the lifestyle at the even the most casual fitness fan probably recognizes. Eliminating things like overly processed foods, being aware of your calorie intake, and exercising regularly all probably come to mind. However, seriously improving your body composition revolves around much more than simply eating right and staying fit. There are other inputs you may not even be considering which can severely alter your ability to accomplish certain goals like weight loss. There is one foe to fitness that goes widely unrecognized and undervalued as a threat – stress.
The simple truth is that stress is unavoidable and part of each and every human’s life. However, as it increases, the effects are both undeniable and detrimental. Stress is associated with a whole host of physical ailments and qualities of health deterioration, ranging from inflammation to accelerated aging. It even potentially clouds judgement, leading to poor decision making skills, unfulfilling relationships, and an inability to sleep properly. In its most brutal form, too much stress in your life will weaken your mind and body, making your heavier, more likely to take ill, and less sharp.
To investigate this troubling relationship between stress and health, a research team from the University of California at San Francisco conducted a study. They identified a direct correlation between the body’s dominant stress hormone, cortisol, and both worsened decision making AND belly fat accumulation. As such, it is clearly a priority for any fitness-minded individual to combat stress and its detrimental effects however possible. Luckily, there is one simple habit you can adopt that has the ability to transform the way you interpret and handle stress in your life. This will lead to increased relaxation and an improvement in your body’s ability to fight fat.
“Deep belly breathing” actually overcomes your body’s natural response to stress and reduces cortisol in favor of increasing melatonin, which is the hormone that controls sleep and defend against the effects of the aging process. Simply make a habit of the following:
1. Locate a nice, quiet room with minimal to no light. Sit or lie down and place a hand on your stomach.
2. Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose and be aware of how your hand rises on your stomach.
3. Exhale slowly in as long and steady of a manner as you can. Shoot for lasting at least five seconds per exhalation.
Just five to ten minutes of this every evening has been note dot significantly improve health, energy, and even your waistline.