Stress matters to your bone health.
According to the American Institute of Stress, 77% of people experience physical symptoms caused by stress. Some of those symptoms could include feeling anxious, being irritable, anger and fatigue are just a few. Managing stress can be an important part of your bone health. The top 7 reasons for stress include job pressure, money, health, relationships, poor nutrition, media overload and sleep deprivation. Ask yourself if you feel any of the areas in your life could be affecting your stress levels.
Chronic stress results in a chronic release of cortisol, your stress hormone. When there is a surge in cortisol your body reacts by increasing blood sugar. If the release of cortisol is chronic the body’s inflammation response is altered and the immune system is weakened. Inflammation is the root cause of disease from Diabetes, Heart Disease, Anxiety, Depression, cognitive disease such as Alzheimers and you guessed it Bone Loss. Inflammation reduces calcium absorption in the intestines which slows bone formation.
Stress also effects our gut microbiomes. When our gut gets out of balance it can result in a buildup of toxins which sends signals that travel up the vegas nerve to the brain and can increase anxiety as well as depression. Depression has been linked to bone loss. German researchers found that depression impacts your hormones decreasing your growth hormone and increasing your cortisol. It can become a vicious cycle of one causing the other; stress unbalancing your microbiomes which in turn heightens anxiety which can then raise blood sugar and cortisol which comes back to the start and effects the gut microbiomes.
So keeping your stress levels in check is so important. Tools for reducing stress can be yoga, exercise, relaxing hobbies, meditation, breath work such as Pranayama, affirmations and Restorative Yoga to name just a few.
Two very easy free tools every one has is the use of affirmations and their breath. The thoughts we think and the way we respond to stress play an important part in how our body reacts internally. Positive affirmations (mentally repeating a phrase) can help to bring someone out of a downward cycle. Observing your breath and allowing yourself to pause for a moment can also keep heightened stress response at bay.
Make sure you are regularly making time in your schedule to down-regulate your nervous system and reduce chronic levels of cortisol. Your bones, your heart and your brain will all thank you.
I teach a regular Restorative Yoga class every Wednesday from 5:15-6:20 at Better Living Yoga in Aliso Viejo as well as Bone Strength Classes on Tuesday and Thursday. Check the schedule tab on this website for times and locations.