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Stress and Workout

We as a society are over worked... We lack rest... and many times we have a tendency to bombard our day with so many extra activities we become too exhausted to workout! Yes, the stresses of life can play a toll on your workout performance. We have a tendency to forget... that an overloaded schedule is not the only thing that can stress a person out... our emotions, feelings, and thoughts can stress a person out too!

Stress plays a major roll in our overall well being. Stress comes in so many different forms and wave lengths.

Here are just 3 types of stress that can hinder your performance.

  1. Acute Stress

Acute stress is usually brief. It is the most common. Acute stress is most often caused by reactive thinking. Negative thoughts, events that have recently occurred, or upcoming situations, events, or demands in the near future.

For example, if you have been involved in an argument, you may have acute stress related to negative thoughts that are repetitive about the argument. -Ever have that argument replay in your head or alter your mood for the day... Yup... it's stress. Or you may have acute stress that is about an upcoming work deadline (which is very common as many people are overworked), again the stress is thought induced. However, most of the time when the thinking induced stress is reduced or removed the stress will subside too.

This kind of stress often holds people back from working out because even though it often subsides, it is frequent stress that can alter our day, energy, and many times over rides how we feel about getting in a workout.

Common Signs and Symptoms:

  • Emotional: anger, irritability, anxiety, depression

  • Muscular: tension, headache, back pain, neck pain, jaw pain, tension that leads to pulled muscles, tendons, and ligament problems.

  • Stomach: gut and bowel problems, heart burn, diarrhea, constipation and more.

2. Episodic Acute Stress

These are individuals who are in stress overload due to personality types: "Type A" Personality and/or The "Worrier."

The "Type A" personality have an excessive competitive drive, aggressive, impatient, abrupt, and a sense of time urgency. Type A most often has a deep seeded insecurity about performance and when things aren't performed as envisioned or expected can many times come off reactive and hostile.

- Usually at higher risk of developing coronary heart disease.

The "Worrier" usually presents constant negative thoughts causing a high impact on physical and mental health. They usually project disaster and forecast negative catastrophe in almost every situation. They have core beliefs that the world is dangerous, unrewarding, and always think something awful is going to happen. Worriers tend to be more anxious and depressed than angry and hostile. Thoughts are usually filled with "What if.."

- Usually diagnosed with mental disorder or anxiety disorder.

Common Signs and Symptoms:

  • Emotional distress —anger or irritability, anxiety and depression, short-tempered, impatient, tense.

  • Cognitive distress: compromised attention/concentration, compromised processing speed, compromised new learning and new learning memory consolidation and retrieval, and mental fatigue.

  • Interpersonal relationships deteriorate, The workplace becomes a very stressful place for them.

  • Muscular distress—tension, headache, back pain, jaw pain, pulled muscles, tendons, and ligament problems.

  • Stomach, gut, bowel problems, heartburn, acid stomach, flatulence, diarrhea, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

  • High blood pressure, rapid heartbeat, sweaty palms, heart palpitations, dizziness, migraine headaches, cold hands or feet, shortness of breath, insomnia, chest pain, and heart disease.

  • Immune System Compromise: frequent colds/flu, allergies, asthma, and other immune system compromise illnesses.

Most times people with Episodic Acute Stress need professional help or help from groups to change pattern and lifestyles habits to reduce the ongoing stress.

3. Chronic Stress

Chronic stress is the most harmful type of stress. If gone untreated can deteriorate your physical and mental health.

For example, long term poverty, repeated abuse in any form, unemployment, dysfunctional family, poor work environment, substance abuse, or an unhappy marriage can cause significant chronic stress.

Chronic stress often is caused by trauma and or childhood experiences and often feel hopeless, alone, see no escape, and many times give up on finding solutions. It is a grinding stress that weighs a person down daily.

-Usually results in suicidal thoughts, violent actions, homicide, heart attacks, strokes, and all the signs and symptoms from above.

Almost always people with Chronic Stress need professional help for psychological treatment and behavioral and stress management.

So now that we talked about 3 main types of stress... Lets talk about how how fatigued your body can become. Its like your body is in overdrive- like its working out non stop throughout your whole day. Stress plays a HUGE factor in your bodies performance. Its why your body can feel fatigued even though you "feel rested" like it isn't getting recharged. Its the many reasons people decide to skip a workout. BUT, did you know... Working out helps to reboot it all. Working out allows you to work your way through stress and the processes of it. Stress destroys on mental and physical health but workouts improve your physical and mental health. So know... when your stressed your performance at the gym may not be what you want... however... your still working the strongest muscle- the brain!... Once the mental game is in check the physical good health will follow!

When your in a stressful period of life... just remember it does not define you or your future. It is a period in life that will pass. Your workouts are their to help you process it all and move you mentally... they don't have to be your best performing workouts because stress will already be weighing you down you just have to be able to allow your body room to breathe, think, and find clarity.

So if your stressed... identify it... and do the work you need to get yourself unstressed and at a peaceful healthy state of mind to bring life back to your being. We know its easier said than done... but remember, one step in the right direction every day is better than no steps.

Know you are capable of overcoming your stresses.

Know you are in charge.

Know you can forgive.

You can let go.

You can find balance.

You got this!


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