You are hormonal; you need to balance your hormones. Any age, any gender, any ethnicity — hormones regulate the body. Ideal body weight, good skin and hair, high energy, strong joints, etc. are all affected. There are too many to discuss here without turning this into a human biology journal, so let’s focus on three major ones: insulin, cortisol and thyroid hormones. Lastly, we’ll review how fitness and nutrition are tools to manage this balance to achieve overall health and wellness.
Insulin is secreted by the pancreas and regulates blood sugar. The body will fight to maintain blood sugar in a very narrow range. Insulin release is triggered by the foods we eat and is needed to access the glucose calories contained in those foods. Too much can lead to insulin resistance and too little in hyperglycemia. Following periods of exertion, such as exercise, insulin aids in accessing carbohydrate energy for recovery.
Cortisol is secreted by the adrenal glands to help the body deal with stress. It breaks down tissue proteins into amino acids that the liver can convert into glucose for quick energy. It also breaks down fat cells into fatty acids, maintains blood pressure and is necessary for injury recovery. Too much cortisol can result in muscle catabolism and too little in chronic fatigue.
Thyroid hormones help the body breakdown proteins and increase free fatty acids to generate energy and heat to boost metabolism. This affects weight gain or loss, strength and recovery. Imbalances will result in hyper or hypothyroidism producing in changes in body mass and how well you manage fatigue and recovery.
Alter your efforts
Try this for the next month. Shift your thinking to eating and exercising to manage your hormones instead of weight gain or loss. The latter is just a bonus. Your body is sensitive to nutrition because your hormones are sensitive to nutrients.
Remember the Three Little Pigs? Quality provided strength, and effort resulted in longevity. Food shapes your foundation, and exercise forms your building. From there, maintaining your structure is 80 percent nutrition and 20 percent fitness. If you use generic materials, e.g. processed foods, your body will deteriorate rapidly.
Fitness will stimulate your body to be more productive with these three major hormones. This is accomplished by putting your physique under an adequate amount of stress and then allowing time for recovery. The latter is where the building occurs.
The act of exercise itself is damaging for the body. It breaks down muscles, strains joints and weakens the immune system. However, all this is temporary. The added stress demands the respective glands to produce more hormones. During recovery, these hormones repair damage and add reinforcement in anticipation of future damage. Would you patch a hole in your wall with putty or bubblegum?
There are several ways to sustain this cycle of hormonal balancing. Concentrate on quality, and be accepting of the fact that the cycle will change. Aging causes unavoidable fluctuations in our hormones. A brand new condo requires different maintenance than a historic home. One consistency is that a level of effort is still required. Love your body and it will love you back. Unlike a home, you have to live in it. Moving is not an option.