Lose the Stress, Reach Your Fitness Goals
By Donna Stark
My daughter is going to college for medicine. It’s a tough workload, and when coupled with her job and everyday life demands, it’s not a surprise when she tells me she feels stressed. On top of that, she is also heavily involved with her fitness. She goes to the gym most days, sees a trainer on the weekends, and follows a somewhat strict diet plan. She started seeing the trainer because she wasn’t seeing the gains that she was hoping for, and he has definitely helped her in that regard. But I think the biggest influence he has had is how he gets her to evaluate the amount of stress she is under and how it affects her workout and fitness goals.
Don’t Let Stress Derail Your Fitness
We all know how stress can affect our emotional health (mood swings, irritability), and we all know that stress can affect our overall physical health too (increased risk of illness and disease), but did you know that stress can also seriously knock you off that path to optimal fitness? Take a look at how stress can hinder your fitness goals, just as it did with my daughter.
- Brain fatigue - Being under constant stress can really do a number on your brain and now, it is doing a number on your workouts as well. When your brain is tired from being stressed all of the time, it can make you think you are exercising harder than you actually are.
- Coordination - Stress, worry, and anxiety can actually cause you to have greater difficulty performing physical activities at the gym. This is because they tend to decrease the body’s coordination and motor control skills.
- Recovery - It’s one thing to put physical stress on your body while working out and expect a normal recovery, but it can be a completely different scenario when another type of stress is added as well. When this happens, the recovery process is limited, and you may find that your body needs a longer amount of time to completely recover after a workout.
- Injury - Have you ever felt your body become tense when you are overloaded with stress? Does all of your sense and sensibilities fly out the window as well? Well, you have stress to thank for that. Muscle tension is often caused by stress and can lead to pain, spasms, and an increased risk of injury. The same can be said for the decreased focus you may be experiencing as well. So pay attention to what your body is telling you and avoid sustaining any type of injury.
Remove the Stress, Reach Your Goals
Take some clues from my daughter … you may be unlikely to reach the fitness goals you set for yourself if you are living in a constant state of high stress, so take care of yourself. Find ways to decompress so that you can find ways to reach your goals.
To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Raleigh, N.C.