Stress is not just an emotional feeling, the body takes great strain too. Your heart rate rises, blood pressure increases, breathing becomes shallower and faster, stress hormones are released and muscles become tighter.
These effects can be good in the short term, we become sharper, quicker and more response to be able to deal more effectively with the stressor.
If we remain stressed for too long it can lead to negative effects on our health and performance. Common symptoms can include memory problems, reduced concentration, worrying, anxiousness, irritability, depression and more. This of course leads to deficits in performance in the gym and your training programme.
Scientific studies have shown reduced athletic performance, a reduction in response to and recovery from weight training and stress can slow healing by as much to 60% in an otherwise health individual.
It is clear stress is a physiological problem, not just an irritating feeling. The best medicine for stress is often the simplest, exercise! Exercise helps to reduce stress and manage it most efficiently in a variety of ways. Physical activity helps kick start the body’s production of feel good hormones – endorphins.
Additionally, exercise helps adjust your heart and breathing rate, helping bring them back to normal levels. Long term exercise reduces blood pressure and can prevent the side effects of stress.