There is no doubt that regular exercise has various health benefits, for example it can help to burn off excess calories, which can help your weight loss efforts.
Research has also shown that regular exercise can help your weight loss efforts in another way too.
A study at performed at the Ohio State University has discovered that regular exercise can reduce stress, but how?
What research was undertaken?
Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, director of the Institute for Behavioral Medicine at Wexner Medical Center believes that high stress levels can complicate the way your body processes food.
Here own research has shown that those who suffer from stress tend to have a lower metabolic rate, with higher insulin levels too.
To check how accurate this belief was, Kiecolt-Glaser and her team of researchers recruited 58 healthy women with an average age of 53 years old.
They were split into two groups, with both groups given identical looking breakfasts.
Both breakfast contained around 930 calories and 60 grams of fat, but there was a hidden difference with the breakfast:
- One had a saturated fat source (primarily an animal source)
- The second had an unsaturated fat source (plant-based sunflower oil)
What were the results of the research?
At the conclusion of the study, the women who were stress free had better blood test results when eating the unsaturated (monounsaturated) fatty breakfast, when compared to those who ate the saturated fatty breakfast.
They also had lower inflammatory markers and tested lower for cell adhesion.
This may not be surprising, but those women who were suffering from stress saw similar results whether they ate the unsaturated or saturated breakfast.
This proves that stress can have an impact on your health.
So what can you do?
With stress shown to have a negative impact on your health it is important that you take steps to alleviate stress.
Getting plenty of sleep would be a good start (at least 7 hours per night), but meditation and yoga are also good methods.
Even a relaxing hot bath with your favourite book could do wonders for your stress levels.