Stress: The Secret Killer

Stress can be as debilitating as most diseases. Yet the frenetic fast paced city life of London causes millions to suffer in silence, most people live with chronic stress not knowing how to best manage it nor aware of the negative impact it can have on daily life.

It can make you feel lethargic, tired, and it can rapidly increase the ageing process. More relevant for this blog is the impact is can have on body composition, training and impeding you from reaching your athletic potential.

Why like many of our problems does stress go ignored? Do we secretly admire highly stressed people who manage multiple tasks at once?

Success is something we all strive for, and stress appears to be something we all accept as a part of success. By understanding stress we can hopefully create strategies to overcome it, consequently this will ensure we manage future stressors effectively also.

Let’s looks at the two most common types of stress;

Acute Stress: This is the most common form of stress. It can come from demands and pressure of the recent past and anticipated demands and pressure of the near futures. Acute stress is thrilling and exciting in small doses, too much can be exhausting. Examples could be giving a speech in front of hundreds of people, or not concentrating at the wheel of your car and almost crashing.

Chronic Stress: This is the secret killer. This is the response to emotional pressure suffered for a prolonged period time in which an individual perceives he or she has no control.

How The Body Responds To Stress: When you perceive a threat, your nervous system kicks into action by releasing a flood of stress hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol. Its these hormones that allow us to react in almost a superhuman way. Your heart rate will increase, muscles tighten up, blood pressure will rise and your body’s sensors will become more responsive.

Stress Management

Strength Training: is a very effective way to counter the demands stress can put on the body. It can improve energy use, build muscle and make you feel good. It also elevates the body’s natural anti-stress system.

Omega- 3 Fats: Fish oils are proven to decrease inflammation in the body and studies suggest is can help fight against chronic stress. Omega- 3 supplementation has also been found to decrease the acute stress response from intense strength training, leading to less inflammation post workout and faster recovery.

Eat Antioxidant Rich Foods: Berries and leafy green vegetables will increase your glutathione to minimise the effects of chronic stress. Antioxidant rich foods include cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli and cauliflower, dark green veg such a kale and collards, and berries such as strawberries, blueberries and raspberries.