When we’re exposed to a stressful event the fight-or-flight response is immediately activated. In response, stress hormones such as cortisol, adrenaline and noradrenaline come pouring out. They stimulate the release of glucose, fats and proteins into the blood stream to provide the body with much needed energy for fighting or fleeing.
When we fight or flee, the body then produces “bliss molecules” — endorphins, endocannabinoids, dopamine — that make us feel relaxed, content and happy. They’re also very powerful neutralizers of the negative effects of stress. It’s a beautifully designed system when it’s allowed to play itself out!
Play It Out = stress → short burst of physical activity →bliss molecules →balance restored
Unfortunately, the sedentary nature of our working and living environments has begun to short circuit the system. Many of us do not get the physical activity needed to burn off the stress hormones and lead to what I’ve termed the Cortisol Crisis™: stress hormones continuing to course throughout the body for extended periods of time.
Excess levels of the stress hormone cortisol are directly linked to storing more fat around the midsection (raising our risk of many diseases), increased appetite, intense cravings for high-fat, high-sugar foods, insomnia, loss of brain cells, and decreased mental function.
Here’s the good news: 30-60 seconds of intense physical activity releases the bliss molecules — the exact amount of time you do each Hit the Deck™ card for!
Fighting and fleeing require a short burst of intense physical activity. When this happens, we utilize the stress hormones the way they’re designed to function and we get the release of bliss molecules. PowerHouse Hit the Deck™ recreates fighting and fleeing and releases endorphins.
These 30-60 seconds of short burst activity train your body to recover from stress more quickly and efficiently, as resiliency is directly connected to fitness. We determine someone’s fitness level by measuring how quickly the heart rate drops after the stress of exercise. The faster the heart rate drops, the higher the level of fitness. Heart rate increases dramatically in response to stress. The sooner we can get the heart rate to slow back down, the sooner the body recovers from the stressor. A faster drop in heart rate means a faster recovery, which also means improved resiliency.
Over time using these short bursts of physical activity also increases the threshold of what your body perceives as a stressful event. When you do PowerHouse Hit the Deck™ on a regular, consistent basis your body will start to adapt by increasing your capacity to handle the ‘stress’ of cardiovascular and muscular resistance training. The muscles get stronger and the aerobic capacity of the heart and lungs increases.
Think about the applications to your life: you suddenly remember you missed a deadline, your child just threw up on the floor, or you’re stuck in traffic. What happens to your heart rate? You feel that little shot of adrenaline? The stress response has just been activated.
What’s your response to these stressors? Do you fight? Do you flee? Not likely. The stress hormones continue to circulate throughout the body, and you don’t get the release of the bliss molecules to reset the system.
PowerHouse Hit the Deck™ is your fight-or-flight training tool and allows you to Play It Out. It trains your body to recover from stress more quickly and efficiently, as well as to raise your threshold for it.
Get your PowerHouse Hit the Deck today!
To have Jenny Evans come and speak to your group or organization on stress, resiliency, performance and health, contact her here.