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? Did you feel less stress last year? How have you been coping with the economic recession? Are you having to do more with less? How are you holding up to the demands of work, family, career, managing your health, or finances?
Believe it or not, stress can actually be a good thing. Now you may be thinking I’m crazy or living in some sort of fantasy world, but stick with me. Our bodies are designed to successfully adapt to stress, and historically, its what has allowed us to survive and thrive. The sedentary nature of many of our lives however, has begun to short circuit the system.
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 release 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.
The next few articles will go in to how the stress hormones and PowerHouse Hit the Deck™ affect the quality of your sleep, where you store body fat, the foods you crave, and your immunity, so be sure to check back!
To have Jenny Evans come and speak to your group or organization on stress, productivity, performance and health, contact her here.