Did you know that there are two easy body poses that can actually increase your self confidence, build muscle, get your ‘mojo’ flowing and also can decrease belly fat and lower your risk of heart disease and breast cancer?
Many of us realize that endorphins, those “feel good” neurotransmitters, can act like natural opiates in your body. Endorphins are released when we exercise and they interact with receptors in your brain to diminish pain triggering a response similar to that of morphine. This euphoric state is sometimes known as a ‘runners high’. Endorphins make us feel better, alleviate depression and create a great start to our day.
But how we position our bodies during different forms of exercise can also affect how we feel and our overall health. Research shows that there are certain body positions you use during exercise that can also make you feel incredibly great afterwards. Our body language can shape our thoughts and emotions. Most people tend to think that our thoughts come first, and then we display the body position accordingly. For example, when someone is feeling sad they tend to slump a bit and wear a gloomy expression on their face. But the opposite is also true; our body positions can actually influence our thoughts and emotions. Recent research by Social psychologist Amy Cuddy, Associate Professor at Harvard Business School demonstrates how body postures that suggest capability and power or “power posing” for as short as 2 minutes can help us perform better, feel better and actually changes out brain via our hormone levels to better handle stressful situations.
Here’s how it works: any exercise positioning (whether it be in a cardio, strength or yoga class) that places your body in lots of “Victorious” positions – (V arms) combined with what is known as the “Wonder Woman” pose (hands on hips, squared hips, strong stance) can actually communicate to your brain that you ARE powerful, strong, victorious and a “winner”. Think about how many different types of exercise puts you into this position…
Just placing your body into these positions and holding them empowers you to feel actually FEEL positive, powerful and victorious!
Why? It’s all about hormones- those wonderful chemical messengers that can be our greatest friend when they run smooth; or our worst enemy when they are out of whack. When someone is in any of these ‘power positions”, not only do their thoughts and feelings change to that of confidence and empowerment and positivity, but this leads to a change in hormones as well.
Holding your body in these positions increases testosterone by over 20% in just 2 minutes can lower cortisol by a whopping 25%!
Cortisol is a hormone released when you are under any kind of stress- physical, emotional, environmental, and even nutritional stress. Cortisol is the ‘commander in chief’ of our body’s stress response and one of its many jobs is to maneuver blood sugar and blood fats to where they are needed. Our stress response is innately programmed to help us run away from danger. But in our stressed out world today, we aren’t ‘running’ anywhere, so there is no place for that extra sugar and fat to be used up. So we store it- there are four times as many cortisol receptors in the abdomen. Commander Cortisol stores the excess there as body fat. Chronically high cortisol levels can lead to excess belly fat, high blood sugar, decreased muscle mass, sticky platelets, cardiovascular disease and stroke and a suppressed immune function. High levels have also been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer in women.
Women tend to believe that testosterone is only all about men, but testosterone rules with the ladies too. Testosterone levels begin to decrease after age 20 and drop off drastically as women enter peri-menopause and menopause. Balanced testosterone in women leads to a lean body, a general sunny mood and a healthy dose of “mojo”- ( sexual energy and increased libido).
These power poses, held for just a few minutes each day can help shrink belly fat, lower your risk of heart attacks and stroke, help to lose peri and menopausal body fat, help gain more muscle, improve immune function, lower breast cancer risk and increase your ‘mojo’ (aka libido!) as well as quelling depression.
Get your Mojo back, feel great, lose belly fat and lower your risk of disease by incorporating these moves into your exercise routines!
Hugs & Health,