Most people know that exercise is an important factor in natural weight loss, but the wrong type of exercise for certain people may be preventing them from losing fat! People who carry most of their excess weight in the lower abdomen in the form of dangling fat deposits below the waist can exercise too much and/or too hard and actually interfere with their ability to lose weight. weight.
The adrenal glands are small glands that sit on top of the kidneys (“adrenal” translates to “on top of the kidney”). Although they are small, the adrenal glands are powerful organs and produce hormones involved in many functions. The most familiar of the adrenal hormones is probably adrenaline (also called epinephrine). You may already be familiar with the role of adrenaline, which mobilizes the body for action by raising the heart rate, raising blood pressure and respiration, and increasing circulation to the muscles of the body. Adrenaline also promotes the burning of fat for energy, so adrenal function can promote weight loss during brief periods of physical or even emotional stress.
However, the adrenal glands produce another hormone that can promote weight gain. This hormone is called cortisol and it tends to cause fat storage in the lower abdomen. Unlike adrenaline, which is produced only for short periods of time, the adrenal glands can produce cortisol over the long term. This means that any fat-burning effects of adrenaline will be outweighed in the long run by the fat-storing effects of cortisol. From a survival standpoint, cortisol serves the purpose of providing emergency storage of fat for energy when the body is under stress for a long period of time. This storage of fat in the lower abdomen will provide energy and keep a person alive if they must endure long periods of living in harsh and physically demanding conditions. The problem is that mental/emotional stress will also raise cortisol levels, and for people who lead particularly stressful lives, continued high cortisol levels will likely encourage lower belly fat accumulation.
So what does this have to do with exercise? For a person who is under constant long-term mental stress, the adrenal glands are always in overload, so that person’s cortisol levels are already elevated and their adrenaline has long been mostly depleted. If you add a lot of strenuous exercise to the mix, the result is increased cortisol production. As cortisol levels rise, there is an increasing tendency to store fat in the lower abdomen.
Many people in this situation who are determined to lose weight will see their inability to lose weight as an indication that they need to exercise harder and more often. These people can still lose weight overall, because if they burn more calories than you take in, they will lose weight, but they will never be able to shed that lower abdominal fat. So they work out even more, but the belly fat remains, and they get more and more fatigued and actually start to lose strength in their arm and leg muscles.
Why would someone lose strength in their arm and leg muscles? Isn’t exercise supposed to build muscle? Well, cortisol not only stores fat in the lower abdomen, it also stimulates the breakdown of muscle and other tissue to meet immediate energy needs. As one pushes to exercise more and more to get rid of belly fat, more and more cortisol is released and the body responds by breaking down its own muscle and lean tissue for fuel, meaning you lose weight but not fat.
The result is a downward spiral of fatigue, loss of muscle mass and strength, and sometimes the development of joint problems as the body eats its own tissues for energy, but there is no reduction in that fat deposit in the lower part of the abdomen that the body holds in reserve.
So what should a person with this problem do to lose that “dog” from the bottom of the stomach? Well, first of all, it’s important to figure out if you really fall into this category, because with the exception of someone who has high cortisol production and overloaded adrenal glands, vigorous exercise is still one of the most effective weight loss measures one can take. You can take.
Someone with a high cortisol problem will have a certain collection of signs and symptoms. First, as we have already mentioned several times, excess weight is deposited almost exclusively in the lower abdomen. The weight would create a flaccid area just below the waist. As we’ve discussed, muscle loss can occur in the arms and legs, which may be visibly obvious, or it may be noticeable as difficulty building strength and stamina in the muscles. In addition, people with adrenal fatigue and high cortisol can have a number of symptoms that can include chronic fatigue, cravings for salty foods, a need for caffeine or other stimulants just to stay awake during the day, swelling in the lower legs, dizziness when arising rapidly from a sitting position, numerous arthritis problems, calf cramps at night and frequent waking in the middle of the night.
If you fall into this adrenal fatigue/high cortisol category, exercise is still important, but you want the kind of exercise that helps you manage stress, not exercise that creates additional stress. For someone with overloaded adrenal glands, the best type of exercise is relatively low-intensity aerobic exercise for 30 to 60 minutes about 3 times a week. Aerobic exercise is an activity you can do without getting out of breath and totally exhausted afterwards. Options for this type of exercise include walking, bicycling, swimming, yoga, tai chi, and low-intensity aerobics. Exercising outdoors appears to be particularly beneficial for stress reduction and consequently lowering cortisol, at least when you don’t have to deal with extreme temperatures. In addition to switching to a lighter form of exercise, it is nutritionally helpful to take care to eat plenty of protein to preserve muscle tissue. Most people can easily achieve this, but if you’ve been drastically cutting calories to lose weight, chances are it’s actually working against you. Just 3 to 4 ounces of meat, fish, eggs, or dairy three times a day is enough to save muscle. If you’re vegan, just make sure you eat plenty of beans, nuts, seeds, and other protein-rich foods. If you’ve been working out like crazy to try and get rid of that belly fat, but all you’ve been left with is feeling tired, weak, and sore by reducing the intensity of your workouts and managing stress better. You will likely find that belly fat is gradually reduced and you will look and feel great.