Managing your cortisol levels through exercise

Managing your cortisol levels through exercise

by Pamela Ng 14 Feb 2020

Cortisol is a hormone that exerts its effects in many ways, the more notable ones being controlling the body’s blood glucose levels and regulating metabolism. However, having excessive cortisol leads to high stress levels.


Thus, the key is to manage the amount of cortisol in the body, and mind-body activities help to do just that. Besides being merely physical movements, they help to calm the mind and relax it so that the body is better able to regulate the production of the hormone. Here are some mind-body activities that you can do to manage your cortisol levels for a calmer and better you:



Studies have shown that people who are engaged in judo show less stress response. Despite being a contact sport, judo calms the mind and fights stress, thus lowering cortisol levels. Additionally, the activity helps to increase antioxidant levels in the body to eliminate free radicals that can be cell-damaging.


Tai chi

Originating from China centuries ago, tai chi combines balanced low-impact movements with a tranquil mind. Don’t let the slowness of it fool you; concentration and focus are needed for your body to move in the fluid manner that is the defining characteristic of tai chi. Research have also shown that the practice manages cortisol levels and helps to boost the brain’s function, while reducing stress and anxiety. On top of that, tai chi improves the body’s balance, helps alleviate pain and increases mobility for people with movement issues.




Yoga has gained massive popularity worldwide. There are variations of the practice, such as Hatha Yoga, Bikram Yoga and Hot Yoga. Each practice offers its own benefits, and it is beneficial to research each type before embarking on it. Recent studies found that yoga helps to manage stress and anxiety, as well as improving mood and mobility, signs that show that cortisol levels are at their optimal levels.


While having a strong body is desirable, your psychological well-being is just as important as well. It may seem that the mind does little to strengthen our bodies, but in truth, having calmness and peace helps the body to produce chemicals that can heighten the benefits of a workout or diet. Wellness should not be limited to the physical body, as much of it is also in your head.