- Chronic stress, lack of sleep, and environmental factors can hinder fitness progress and affect overall health.
- Medications and hormonal imbalances can impact weight, metabolism, and energy levels, affecting fitness goals.
- Dental health is surprisingly linked to fitness, with poor oral hygiene associated with conditions affecting exercise.
- Achieving fitness goals requires a holistic approach encompassing stress management, sleep, diet, awareness of medications and hormones, and oral hygiene.
You’ve been hitting the gym regularly, eating clean, and monitoring your progress. But for some reason, you’re not seeing the results you’ve been expecting. While diet and exercise are critical factors in achieving your fitness goals, there might be other unexpected factors at play. This blog will explore surprising factors that could be impacting your fitness journey.
Did you know that stress can affect your physical health? Chronic stress increases the hormone cortisol in your body, which can lead to weight gain, especially around your midsection. High cortisol levels can also decrease muscle mass and increase inflammation in the body, making it harder to recover after a workout. Fortunately, there are plenty of things you can do to combat stress. Here are four examples:
Yoga is an excellent way to relieve stress as it combines physical activity with mindfulness and relaxation. It helps reduce cortisol levels, boosts the immune system, and relaxes your body and mind.
Practice deep breathing exercises.
Deep breathing helps release tension in your body and can be done anywhere. Find a comfortable spot, close your eyes, and take five slow breaths – inhaling for six seconds, holding your breath for two seconds, and then exhaling for seven seconds. Repeat this five times.
Go for nature walks.
Nature has a calming effect on the mind, and taking a walk outdoors can help reduce stress. Not only will you get some fresh air and sunshine, but it also gives your body an opportunity to move without putting too much strain on it. Research suggests that spending time in nature can even improve overall mental health.
Talk to someone.
Sometimes talking to someone can help you cope with stress. Reach out to a friend or family member and let them know how you’re feeling. Sharing your worries can lead to more positive feelings, as it’s comforting to know that someone is listening.
By taking active steps to control your stress levels, you can be on your way to achieving your fitness goals.
A good night’s sleep is essential for the body to recover and repair from exercise. Lack of sleep not only increases stress hormones but also decreases the production of growth hormones, which help build muscle and burn fat. Aim for seven to nine hours of sleep a night and try to establish a regular sleep routine.
Your environment can impact your fitness progress. If you’re constantly surrounded by unhealthy food choices, it can be challenging to stay on track with your diet. If you’re always indoors, you may not get enough vitamin D, which is crucial for bone health and muscle function. Try to create a conducive environment for healthy living by stocking your fridge with healthy foods and finding ways to be active outdoors.
Certain medications can affect your fitness goals. Some antidepressants and antihistamines, for example, can cause weight gain, while some blood pressure medications can affect your heart rate during exercise. If you’re taking medication and you notice changes in your fitness progress, talk to your healthcare provider.
Hormonal imbalances can affect your metabolism, muscle mass, and energy levels, making it harder to achieve your fitness goals. For women, fluctuations in estrogen and progesterone levels during the menstrual cycle can impact their energy levels and recovery. Irregular periods can also be a sign of hormone imbalances. If you suspect that you have a hormonal imbalance, talk to your healthcare provider.
Your dental health can also impact your fitness journey. Poor oral hygiene has been linked to high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes, which can affect muscle function and energy levels during exercise.
Make sure to practice good oral hygiene by brushing twice a day and flossing daily. You should also visit a dentist’s office for regular checkups and cleanings. A good dentist will not only look for cavities and other oral problems, but they can also advise you on the best ways to maintain your dental health.
Achieving your fitness goals goes beyond just diet and exercise. Other factors such as stress, sleep, environment, medications, hormones, and even dental health can significantly impact your progress. It’s essential to maintain a holistic approach to your health and well-being by managing stress, getting enough sleep, creating a conducive environment, being aware of the effects of medications, checking for hormonal imbalances, and keeping your teeth clean. Your body is a complex system where everything is interconnected, and addressing all these aspects can help you navigate your fitness journey more effectively.