During stress, it is really helpful to get moving. Choosing the right exercise is key. The amount of cortisol produced by the body is proportionate to the intensity of the exercise. Strenuous exercise like jogging or lifting heavy weights can raise your cortisol levels if you are not a seasoned runner. Increased cortisol signals to the body to store fat because it increases hunger and also spikes blood sugar levels by breaking down protein and fat. The stored energy turns into bodily fuel to meet the perceived physical demand. The kind of fat you are more likely to store is visceral fat. High cortisol levels have been linked to a weakened immune system, reduced bone density and infertility. Milder forms of exercise, such as yoga and power walking put less stress on the body but give good health benefits.
The important thing to keep in mind is that you should gradually increase your fitness level and maintain a regular routine of moderate exercise. This will help your joints as well as maintain a more balanced level of cortisol.