Former Atlanta Falcon Dez White, the physical fitness trainer at Syfan Logistics for the past four years, says that managing stress is vital during the current pandemic.
“With the current situation, pretty much everyone has had their daily routine affected in some way, and have had anywhere from minor inconvenience to major stress added to their lives,” White said. “Your body has three primary stress hormones, these hormones are designed to get your body ultra focused when faced with life threatening situations. They allocate resources to the muscles and bodily functions that are most vital for survival and direct them from those that are not. As you can imagine, this is great for short term use, but probably not so much for long term health; cortisol specifically.”
White added that cortisol is a steroid that regulates a wide range of processes in the body like metabolism and immune response.
“It also has a very important role in helping the body respond to stress. Cortisol gets a bad rap because of its title as a ‘stress’ hormone, and justifiably so,” he said. “However Cortisol helps control many VITAL bodily processes. Salt/water balance, blood sugar levels, which affect metabolism, and even blood pressure regulation. The problem only comes in when the body is producing too much of it and prolonged exposure to it.”

White says that high amounts of cortisol cause:

  • rapid weight gain mainly in the face, chest and abdomen contrasted with slender arms and legs
  • a flushed and round face
  • high blood pressure
  • osteoporosis
  • skin changes (bruises and purple stretch marks)
  • muscle weakness
  • mood swings, which show as anxiety, depression or irritability
  • increased thirst and frequency of urination.

Dez adds that the top ways to reduce cortisol are rest (as in proper amount of sleep), exercise and stress Reduction.
“The challenging part many times is sleeping when you are stressed, so it’s easier said than done. This is why exercise is VITAL to helping you get your body back to its preferred state of being. It will help improve the quality of your sleep (a magnesium supplement will help there, too) in addition to help your body reduce cortisol production naturally. Many times this will help self-correct things like blood pressure, and help reduce belly fat. It’s all about keeping your body calm and relaxed as much as possible and utilizing the myriad of benefits associated with maintaining a healthy lifestyle,” White said.
Here is a 40 minute cardio kickboxing workout meant to keep your heart rate up as if you were doing a long distance run, but without all the impact or logistics of running. Running is fine too, but for those that don’t like it, this is a great alternative. Enjoy!

Dez White is a former Georgia Tech, Chicago Bear and Atlanta Falcons football player who has dedicated his second career to helping people reaching their fitness goals. Especially those who have health related issues due to excessive weight. He specializes in weight loss, toning, and conditioning as well as youth sports training.  His company The Body Firm Atlanta has been doing boot camps and group fitness workouts for 10 years in Atlanta and surrounding areas.