How Does Exercise Influence Cortisol | Ask the Menopause Expert #478

Episode #478 What’s the exercise influence cortisol has on menopause? 

This hot topic is an frequently revisited one. So, you probably haven’t heard the last! 


Here’s why: 

  • exercise CAN reduce cortisol
  • exercise CAN increase cortisol
  • exercise combines with your current status for overall effect

The two-word answer is always, it depends. 

It depends on you. 



To decrease cortisol: 

  • find the goldilocks for you right now 
  • listen to hormones and interpret the messages your body is sending

Why the exercise influence cortisol matters more in menopause:

  • fat burning occurs when you do the right amount
  • fat storage occurs when you do the wrong amount 

Th “quick fix” that exercise can be for some women is due to a lack of other stress reduction tools. Find them! 


The mistakes:

  • long endurance steady state exercise
  • more moderate exercise
  • “fat burning zone”

What about the American Heart Association recommendations? someone else asked. 

Any arbitrary guidelines don’t fit everyone. Would moving regularly be a goal? Yes. Low to moderate level however is the biggest improvement you make. Coming off the couch to move you gain the most. 


Increase cortisol 150%.. with moderate intensity exercise. 

Listen to this passage for information on late day high intensity exercise. You’ll hear when high intensity exercise IS beneficial if you have optimal cortisol levels in general. 

08:54 cortisol from exercise

09:10 Fasted exercise (more cortisol)

10:20 cortisol saliva test

11:30 adrenal fatigue or disfunction

12:30 Yoga as a fat burning by way of removing the obstacle

Cortisol is the gatekeeper of fat.

Do not forget these take-aways:

Avoid anything that breaks down muscle (catabolism). That includes, fasting, high stress levels, and low fuel states. 

Episodes mentioned you might like:

Prior response to cortisol and exercise Q

The Pregnenolone Steal episode

40-minute Cortisol & Exercise in Menopause episode

Self-directed cortisol testing: 

Use: Flipping50 for $20 off your first test

My TEDx talk:

The Flipping50 Insiders group on Facebook

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