Stress management

 

Hi Fitness Warriors!

 

Everyone experiences stress in some way, shape or form and without it, we would be bored, unmotivated and even depressed. Did you know that stress can be the major factor when it comes to you achieving your health and wellness goals? In this blog, we go through the good and the bad impacts that stress can have on our bodies. You will also learn why it is vital to control your stress if you are training to lose weight or increase energy levels - so without further ado, let's get into it!

 

Positives to Stress:

 

Stress is known as a negative; the enemy and the one thing no one wants in their busy life. Although, in reality, stress can actually be one of the most positive forces to keep you focused and energised.

When a person senses danger - either physically, mentally or emotionally - stress kick's into a higher gear and this is commonly known as the “fight or flight” response. This response is your body's way of protecting itself as it increases your adrenaline / improves your concentration. This can explain how a normal person can find the strength to lift a car in a time of danger - or how you feel a sudden urge of motivation when you realise your report is due in only a few hours!

This is therefore stress at it's finest and demonstrating how this stress can have a very positive impact on our bodies and life task - however, it is still very important to learn how to control this emotion.

 

Negative Stress:

 

If I asked you to write down everything that causes stress in your life - would you feel overwhelmed? Being balanced mentally, nutritiously and physically is of crucial importance in order to live a happy and healthy lifestyle and managing negative stress is a huge aspect of this. 

Being stressed can have a detrimental impact on your health and well-being. Did you know that stress and anxiety increase's your cortisol levels? Cortisol causes fat to build up in your stomach and when stressed for long periods of time, this will lead to an increase in weight gain and bloating! This is why I can't stress enough about the importance of learning stress management techniques until you find something that works for YOU when it comes to de-stressing the body (no matter what your goals may be)!

 

Below is a quick diagram that captures stress as it affects our main bodily organs:

 

stress management techniques

 

As you can see, stress has many negative impacts on our body's health, however, two particularly stand out to me as being the most important;

 

#1. Digestive System:

 

Stress has an incredible impact on your digestive system. When you’re stressed, your level of stomach acid increases - therefore, each nutritious meal you consume will be used to break down this extra acid. The major effect this can have is that it starves you of the needed minerals and proteins that your food supplies in each meal.

Over a period of time, this can cause many health issues such as;

  • Your bones, muscles, tissues and organs not getting the number of minerals and vitamins they need;
  • Muscle loss;
  • Bloating;
  • Lack of energy and concentration; and
  • Poor recovery time.

Therefore, by managing/preventing stress in your life - you will attain and improve your digestive system naturally and the sky will be the limit as to what you can achieve! 

 

#2. Decision-Making Process:

 

When stressed - the frontal lobe of your brain is seriously impacted. The frontal-lobe has several jobs such as your decision-making process (this goes back to the “fight or flight” response that we mentioned earlier). When stressed, we feel overly fatigued and tired - this will therefore cause detrimental impacts to your health and fitness goals - physically, mentally and nutritiously. By feeling fatigued and tired your body cannot function at 100%, this, therefore, affects your training capacity, your nutritional motivation and even your motivation to get off the couch after a long day at work!

If you can use stress relief strategies to manage your daily stress from wherever you may be, you will be more energised, focused and motivated to stick to your Cam's Crazy 8s schedule and workout regime. Below I have listed some of my favourite stress relief techniques - just keep reading!

 

Side Note: Small levels of stress are okay and do have positive effects (so don't stress)!

 

So how can I manage my stress?

 

Everyone manages stress differently and there is no right and wrong answer. Therefore, experimenting with different strategies to find out what works for you is a great first step! 

Here are a few of my favourite techniques that will help relieve and reduce your stress levels:

Technique 1 – Take up an enjoyable hobby (at least once a week): This can be anything - therefore you will not only get some time to focus on something that brings you joy, but you’ll also be around people who's

" company you enjoy (this distracts you from any stressful issues you may be dealing with)!

Technique 2 – Spend time outside daily, embracing the environment around you.

Technique 3 – Practice being alone: Turn off your phone and go somewhere, maybe out to dinner, a movie or a hike. You are with yourself forever - therefore, the more you can learn to enjoy your own company, the better.

Technique 4 – Meditate/pray/quietly reflect (any word that you prefer) whenever suits you. If you are new to this - listen to a guided meditation as a starting point or research different techniques.

Technique 5 - Include low impact movement (e.g. Our "Relax and Recover" session, yoga, walking, swimming, running etc).

Technique 6 - Take several deep breaths - I highly recommend implementing the 6, 6, 6, rule (in for six seconds, hold for six seconds, out for six seconds). This will immediately calm your stress response.

Technique 7 - Try a mind-body scan: Set aside five minutes - start at your toes and slowly move up to the top of your head. Notice all physical sensations: hot/cold, itchy, tense, etc... Do this anywhere at any time as this will calm your body and help you slow down your thoughts. To assist, ask yourself these questions

  • What are you feeling physically / emotionally?
  • What are you thinking?
  • What have you learnt about yourself today?
  • What am I grateful for at this point in time?

The above seven simple, yet effective strategies will go such a long way into shaping your ability to manage stress. I highly recommend implementing a stress management technique between two-four times a week! Trial any of the above seven techniques until you find one that works for you and your lifestyle.

 

Conclusion:

 

Stress can be our friend if managed correctly so stay strong, motivated and connected to your breathing. 

As always: If you’d like to enter our monthly draw to receive a 3-month FREE Cam’s Crazy 8s membership - be sure to post your key take-away from this blog on your social media and tag @camscrazy8s. We will be selecting the winner at the end of each month!

 

I’ll see you next time!

 

 

 

 

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