I’ll never shy away from sharing my love of my family, especially my daughter. She’s the smart one who will support me in my old age, you know, spotting me when doing handstands.
Anyhow, this morning on our way to school she brought up the subject of stress and asked how people should exercise to manage stress. She’s got exams and homework and is starting to get exposed to the kind of baseline stress we all live with. I went on to explain how there is normal every day stress and then those times when we get too stressed, and then balanced off by anti-stress, the things that make us feel good or relaxed.
This got me thinking afterwards about all the times adults want to exercise out their life stresses – is this really the best way to deal with high stress situations?
Before watching the video, here are a few terms for you to read:
- Baseline stress is all the average, everyday stress we live with and accept. Bills, work, stuck in traffic, cold, heat, regular exercise, the final moments of your weekly dose of Game of Thrones and the silly argument over who forgot to buy the beetroot and almond dip and stuff like that.
- Stress and excess stress results in a hormonal response in the body that releases more cortisol and epinephrine – the stress hormones that fuel us for fight or flight. This is referred to the Sympathetic nervous system response.
- Anti-stress or the opposite of high stress is relaxing, chilled out and happy. This is the Parasympathetic nervous system kicking in.
We need to have exposure to both of these to develop as fully capable humans. Indeed, without exercise stress we would not be able to progress, to get fitter, stronger and more intelligent. As a species we have thrived on a finely tuned balance of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems.
However, when we expose ourselves to too much stress, things go wrong. We get sick. High stress exercise is the last thing we need to add to our lives when we are stressed. Whilst carrying out the basics of our normal exercise routine is fine, adding more exercise stress in the form of high intensity intervals can be a ticking time bomb on our physiology.
Adding relaxing, resetting practices to our exercise schedule is a must during periods of above baseline stress.
We choose the Original Strength movement system as a way to reset our bodies prior to training in the gym and on recovery days but if you like the idea of yoga, gentle walking or listening to your chilliest of your music collection, do that.
That’ll do me for today. I look forward to my daughters next question but if you have any questions or wonders, please do ask.