Stress doesn’t just affect the mind.
In fact, there are 6 forms of physiological stress that influence the body as well. Classed as physiological stress load factors (PSL), they include:
Not all stress is bad for you!
We have evolved to use stress to our advantage. Stress can make our bodies perform well: our senses can heighten, along with our concentration, our blood flow increases and we can harness stress to make us stronger and fitter.
The body works efficiently to keep its systems balanced. Each of the body’s systems deal with these six stress factors on a daily basis and have an optimal level of stress under which they operate best.
The danger of too much stress
Stress in the various systems adds up and the body can only take so much. If each system is only slightly overworked, the sum of all stress combined could equate to a significant load, causing all manner of unwanted symptoms ranging from itchy skin to high blood pressure.
When your body is highly stressed, further stress produced through physical activity will only exacerbate an already stressed system. The effects of one or all of the six physiological stressors can play havoc with your rehabilitation or sporting performance, reducing your natural ability to promote health, heal or improve.
Stress loads on the body have a large effect on the intensity that an individual can work at during exercise to create a positive outcome!
Using this knowledge to your advantage
Someone who has a high physiological stress load and is trying to lose weight by exercising too intensely will struggle to see any results. They may find they are getting ill or injured easily. They are likely to see far greater results from lowering the intensity of their exercise, alongside reducing nutritional stress by cutting down on the worst offenders, such as processed foods and alcohol. It may seem counterintuitive, but giving the body the space it needs to re-balance, repair and revitalise would expedite weight loss and make the individual feel a lot better. The same goes for someone trying to build muscle.
An identical exercise programme performed by two different individuals can create two very different outcomes, often due to the total level of stress within an individual’s physiology. Appropriate exercise intensity directed by your PSL produces outstanding results!
So how do I know how much physical stress is the appropriate amount for me?
You can experiment yourself, taking the time to consciously think about how much stress you are under and try adjusting your diet and exercise accordingly. Eliminating stress in some areas which you have the most control over will enable you to manage your health.
At Natural Fit, all of our coaches are trained to help you identify your stress load. We tailor exercises to your ability level and guide you to your fitness goals, making sure you are exerting yourself no more than is healthy for you.