The effects of stress on your performance

I want to talk today about one of the most harmful afflictions faced by anyone who wishes to achieve optimal performance. 

The primary component to progression in one's fitness life is the negative and positive effects of stress. 

Stress is not always negative. There are two kinds of stress that can afflict the body eustress and distress. Our bodies adapt through careful and meticulous use of stressors during training. This is your eustress; an example of a good stressor is weight training. The reason why weight training works is that it places stress on the body but only just enough to allow it to recover, adapt, and deliver a better result. Same as running, walking all are just different amounts of intensity. However, the stress that is most concerning to an athlete wanting to get the most out of the time spent in the gym and the time used on any particular program is distress.
The reason being is that distress induces a hormonal change in your body, the primary stress hormone that is the most damaging to any athlete is cortisol. Cortisol is linked to increasing the risk of mental illness, low life expectancy, and depression. Also, can be particularly damaging to adolescents.

This hormone production can be contributed to stress from work or family affairs and a number of outside elements that do not directly seem to affect your performance in the gym or in life though it can be crippling if not managed. I'm here to tell you that if you are able to control and lessen the effects of stress outside of your sport or gym time you will be able to increase performance in ways you never thought of. If your mind is not balanced and focused on the activity at hand you will fail to achieve optimal results. But then the question becomes how? How do I manage my stress? 

Obviously, you cannot just simply stop caring and responding to your family or quit your high-stress job, but what you can do is allow yourself time to meditate. Now, now I do not mean that in the spiritual enlightening five hours of no eating eyes close in a dark room type of meditation. I simply mean to allow yourself a hobby you truly enjoy or taking 30 minutes for yourself and performing that every day.  Essentially find your escape, and don't wait till vacation to do so. I cannot stress this enough with first-time clients especially those in their 30s or 40s that come to me with chronic back, neck pain, and or persistent migraines. Now some of their issues have to do with posture, the effects of upper cross syndrome, sitting and staring at LCD screens for prolonged amounts of time, and we do address those concerns. However, another sometimes the overlooked aspect is the stress that these activities can place on their mind. Being at a desk staring at little-lit pixels for hours is stressful, the family is stressful, work is stressful so we must find relief we must rehabilitate. Just as we stretch and strengthen our bodies must also allow it escape. 

It can be as easy as a morning walk when you listen to your favorite audiobook or podcast. You enjoying your favorite book in the evening. Taking a few moments of the day to take a nice slow deep breath for a couple repetitions. Or my favorite, going to the gym and bathing yourself in the atmosphere surrounded by like-minded people with strong ideals and a level of fitness. These many getaways are open to you. I invite you to find your escape today and make it a part of your everyday routine it will change the way you feel it will change your outlook on life. Also, most importantly it will improve your performance and in and out of the gym.


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