Friday, May 4, 2007

All About Stress - What you should know about stress and the effects it has on training

Stress: (strEHs') n. 1. An epidemic of plague-like proportions striking all races, genders and ages. 2. A chameleon health condition, also known as adrenal fatigue syndrome, that can result in obesity, insomnia, heart disease, depression, headache, ulcer, chronic fatigue and a myriad of other illnesses. verb trans. 1. To be anxious, nervous, worried, tired or strained for prolonged periods of time without relief. 2. To experience severe mental, emotional and/or physical discomfort.

The difficulty of preventing stress lies in the fact that stress truly is a "chameleon" health problem. Thousands of factors can cause stress, and stress can appear in your body in almost as many ways. With every individual, stress is brought on by a unique factor. For some, it's the partying college kids next door, or worrying about finances, while for others, stress may be caused by the loss of a loved one, and for others still, too much of a good thing – like exercise.

Stress can be mental, creating frustration, inability to focus, reduced concentration and energy, and weak memory skills. Stress can be emotional, overcoming you with anger, resentment, worry, anxiety or panic. And stress can be physical, whether from improperly nourished muscles and organs or real physical injury. Often, stress is a combination of two or more of these types.

What's more, stress can have a compounding effect: a mentally stressful situation can develop into physical health troubles, and these health troubles can in turn create more mental stress in your life. What does this mean? Stress is potentially the most pervasive, damaging condition we face. Nearly every major cause of death, including heart disease, stroke, obesity, diabetes and arthritis, is linked to some type of stress.

Exercise is a form of stress. Unfortunately, the part of the brain that is responsible for stimulating the release of cortisol doesn't know the difference between "good" stress and "bad" stress, so it secretes more of this destructive hormone whenever we do a workout that's longer or more intense than we're used to. The irony is that when we secrete high levels of cortisol we actually impede the growth and repair processes that are necessary for improvement in strength and speed - the very things we are trying to accomplish in training. Cortisol tears muscle tissue down and severely suppresses the immune system, making us most susceptible to injury and nagging illnesses. Chronic high levels of cortisol may also possibly result in increased risk for stress fractures, since calcium uptake by the bones is so reduced. The good news is that if we can reduce the high levels of cortisol we secrete through exercise, we can also reduce much of the damage and setbacks so that we can recover faster and stronger. And the ingredients in Recovox have been shown to do just that.

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