Stress has really gotten a bad rap over the years. An entire industry has been created around stress management and stress reduction — but is it working? Are you feeling less stressed than last year?It’s highly likely you’re feeling like the speed of business and life is getting faster and more complex each year. At work you’re constantly being asked to do more. There’s a lot of change. And every year you’re getting a year older, which can make it more and more challenging! How are you holding up to the demands of work, family, career, managing your health, and your finances?
Believe it or not, stress can actually be a good thing. It’s what expands our capacity as long as we get recovery from it. Our bodies are designed to successfully adapt to stress, and become stronger – not weaker – because of it.
When we are exposed to a stressful event the Fight or Flight response is immediately activated — releasing stress hormones like cortisol, adrenaline and noradrenaline — that instantly transforms our chemistry. It releases glucose, fats and proteins in to the blood stream, providing the energy needed to fight or flee. Stress hormones are good in this instance. When we fight or flee, the body releases feel good hormones or “bliss molecules” — such as endorphins — that make us feel relaxed, content and happy. It’s a beautifully designed system when it’s allowed to play itself out!
Stress + appropriate response = bliss molecules
Guess what fighting and fleeing have in common? PHYSICAL ACTIVITY! Intense physical activity burns off the stress hormones and releases the bliss molecules. Unfortunately, many of us do not get the physical activity needed to burn off these stress hormones and lead to what I’ve termed the Cortisol Crisis™: stress hormones continuing to course through the body for extended periods of time.
Excess levels of the stress hormone cortisol are directly linked to storing more fat around the midsection (not only can this be frustrating, it also raises our risk of many cardiovascular diseases), decreased quality of sleep, reduced immunity, craving high fat/high calorie foods, and many other detrimental disease states like diabetes and some cancers.
Here’s the good news: 30-60 seconds of intense physical activity can release the bliss molecules — the exact amount of time you do each Hit the Deck™ card for! Think about the Fight or Flight response — either you got away or you were eaten, and it all happened very quickly.
PowerHouse Hit the Deck burns off the stress hormones
and releases the bliss molecules.
Over time it will also increase the threshold of what your body perceives as a stressful event. Remember how I said the body is designed to adapt to stress? 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 muscular resistance training by the muscles getting stronger as well as increasing the aerobic capacity of the heart and lungs.
Think about the applications to your life: you suddenly remember you missed a deadline, you forgot to follow-up with someone, your child just threw up on the floor, or you’re stuck in traffic. Think about what happens to your heart rate. You feel that little shot of adrenaline? The stress response has just been activated. There are an endless amount of little things that trigger the fight or flight response all day long — it doesn’t have to be a major stressor! What’s your response to these stressors? Do you fight? Do you flee? Not likely. What happens to the stress hormones? Do they get burned off? No — they continue to course through the body. Do you get the release of the feel good hormones? Not unless you get some intense physical activity.
PowerHouse Hit the Deck is not just a tool for weight loss or improved fitness — it’s also a way for you to better adapt to the stress in your life.
To have Jenny Evans come and speak to your group or organization on stress, resiliency, productivity, performance and health, contact her here.