Recent research has established that stress is an important risk factor for heart disease , along with high cholesterol and blood pressure....and equally dangerous !
A study carried out in Canada found that those who were stressed were four times more likely to suffer heart attack in the next 14 years than those who did not..Besides, stress is deadly to those already suffering from heart disease. Heart patients who are stressed are four times more likely to die in the next 6 months than those who are not.
Why is stress so toxic?
Stress leads to increased levels of stress hormones, namely , cortisol and epinephrine. Excessive cortisol release in the body has been linked with increased body fat deposition, weight gain and high cholesterol levels. A very recent study found that stress leads to a weight gain of close to 4 kilos a year. The bottom line is, if you eat a burger when stressed out, you would end up with higher blood sugar and triglyceride levels than eating the same in a calm state of mind.
Exercise can help !
Exercise is a known panacea for all ills. Exercising releases another hormone called “endorphins” that counter the ill effects of cortisol. Endorphins are responsible for that “high” one gets after a good workout.
Here is what exercise does:
• Reduces stress
• Wards off anxiety and the “blues”
• Boosts self-esteem
• Improves sleep
Exercise also strengthens heart, builds muscle and improves overall body tone. So get into your jogging or walking shoes! Experts recommend at least 30 minutes of brisk walk or jog per day. If you also want to lose weight, aim for 45 minutes to 1 hour of vigorous activity. And of course, avoid eating junk food when stressed!