All of us know some of the best workouts are on the days we want to be on the couch. Working out is not only physical but mental. We can start a good workout routine as fast as we can get out of one. Think about how we feel when we are consistent in the gym and eating healthier. We are able to handle stress receptors because our body is strong. If you’re eating like crap, not being active, not getting enough sleep. Do you think your body is going to be able to handle stress? No! Be ready for stress and don’t wait for stress to come to you.
As humans, it’s perfectly normal to experience mild stress and it actually has positive short-term benefits because it releases a hormone called cortisol. This stress hormone can give us “a quick burst of energy, heightened memory, increased heart rate, and a lowered sensitivity to pain”, which can be incredibly advantageous in high stakes situations.
Daily stress can, and does, affect our general health and well-being. We are all hard-wired at birth to react to stress in ways that protect ourselves from things that are perceived as harmful. The hypothalamus, a small region at the base of the brain sets off an alarm when we are faced with a threat. Nerves and hormones signal our adrenal glands (located near the kidneys) to release hormones including adrenaline and cortisol. Our bodies react with a fight, flight or freeze response. The adrenaline that is released when we are stressed increases one’s heart rate, raises blood pressure and readies the body’s energy supplies. Cortisol, often referred to as the stress hormone, also increases blood sugars. Small increases in cortisol have positive effects on our response to stress; we often gain a quick burst of energy, heightened memory and a lowered sensitivity to pain.
Turn in early and adding poor sleep (less than six hours per night) on top of stress slashed the odds of weight-loss success in half. To get a better night’s rest, power down your iPad and laptop at least an hour before heading to dreamland. The blue light of the glowing screen interferes with your body’s production of the sleep hormone melatonin, making it more difficult to drift off or stay asleep.
Working out helps lower stress levels and may help decrease symptoms of anxiety. But the benefits of moving regularly don’t end there. Exercise can have direct effects on weight by helping burn calories and increasing lean muscle mass, which helps with weight control. Regular exercise can help improve your physiological toughness when facing stress. Exercise can lead to beneficial adaptations in the stress response system that improve how your body reacts to future physiological stressors, which may result in the body being more efficient at coping with psychological stressors.” Exercising regularly can also help you more rapidly recover from stressors and decrease negative feelings following a stressor. This lessens the overall wear and tear that the stressors have on the body.
When making good choices with eating and drinking, if stress does pop up we will have good boundaries to beat it. A lot of us deal with stress in different ways. We may sleep it off, eat till we get sick, or drink until we pass out. Try not to reach for food when you are in a stressed state. Stress diverts blood flow away from your digestive system, which you don’t want when you are trying to digest your food or drinking alcohol.
Try to make good decisions when stress comes around. Not only staying healthy year round helps out stress levels but keeps our immune system high! Stress with not working out, eating terrible, drinking every night puts our body in a lowered immune system. What we are trying to do now is stay healthy for the ones we love.
Written by: Wes Steel