At Optimum3 Personal Training we work with a lot of people who tell us that they’ve been trying to lose weight/change shape for a long time with no real success, but can’t understand why. We also work with busy professionals who experience regular stress, resulting in burn out, fatigue and under performance. As well as food, one thing that has a massive impact on our health & performance goals is Stress. Let me take you through why and what we can do to reduce our stress levels, in turn increasing results as well as our overall health, performance & wellbeing.
We can all identify some areas in our lives that cause us stress. Working long hours, having to hit a deadline, money, relationships, the list can be long. There are also areas of stress that aren’t of common understanding. These can be mental, emotional, nutritional or physical. The body interprets all these types of stress in the same way, with the same hormonal response. Usually, whatever the stress is, we have a relative level of control over them even if we feel this isn’t the case.
It’s important to understand the effects and impact of stress on the body in order to be proactive about changing the environments that cause it. Let’s start with your digestive system.
Stress affecting the gut:
- Decreases nutrient absorption
- Decreases oxygenation to your gut
- Up to 4 times less blood flow to your digestive system, leading to decreased metabolism
A damaged gut and stress can lead to multiple inflammatory diseases and conditions such as IBS, food allergies, chronic fatigue syndrome and more.
There are other areas of the body that are affected too.
Adrenal Glands – responsible for stress hormone production and regulation. When over stressed the body produces extra Cortisol. When this hormone is over produced, fat storage, especially around the middle, can be the result.
Thyroid Gland – This is found in the neck and makes certain hormones that stimulate the metabolism. If insufficient amounts are produced, metabolism can stall which can make it difficult to generate energy from food.
As well as the above, things such as high blood pressure, anxiety, depression and fatigue can be a result of stress.
Things to reduce stress and the impact on the body:
Exercise. This is often good for clearing the mind and releasing negative energy. However, exercise is seen as a stress by the body, so if suffering from chronic stress I would recommend different ways to reduce your levels which don’t increase the external stressors. Things such as yoga, walking, meditation (thought processing), using relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, or talking to someone.
Nutrition. With regards to the impact on your digestive system you’d go along way in helping yourself by improving your food intake – take a look at our ‘You and Your nutrition’ blog. There are also useful supplements that will help rebuild your digestive and overall health.
By taking a little time in changing some lifestyle factors that are controllable you can significantly reduce the impact of stress and significantly improve your health & results.
Eat Well. Move Well. Live well
Founder & Personal Trainer