Wednesday, September 2, 2009


We have all heard (over and over) how good working out is, not only for your physical health but your mental health as well. As a soon(-ish) to be health care professional, I thought I would do a post on stress and its affect on your body. Also, I'm hoping writing this will encourage me to go get moving! Stress is the emotional and physical strain caused by our response to pressure from the outside world. The stress response is the body’s way of protecting you. When working properly, it helps you stay focused, energetic, and alert. In emergency situations, stress can save your life – giving you extra strength to defend yourself, or urging you to slam on the brakes to avoid an accident.

But beyond a certain point, stress stops being helpful and starts causing major damage to your health, your mood, your productivity, your relationships, and your quality of life.

Under sudden stress, you will get a burst of exceptional strength and endurance, as your body pumps out stress hormones:
  • Your heart speeds up
  • Blood flow to your brain and muscles increases up to 400 percent
  • Your digestion stops (so it doesn't use up energy that's needed elsewhere)
  • Your muscle tension increases
  • You breathe faster, to bring more oxygen to your musclesPsychologist Connie Lillas uses a driving analogy to describe the three most common ways people respond when they’re overwhelmed by stress.
When stress is a constant factor in your life, it can cause many affects on your body:
  • chronic fatigue
  • digestive upsets
  • headaches
  • back pain.
  • stress affects the blood cells that help you fight off infection, so you are more likely to get colds and other diseases.
  • increase blood pressured
  • increased risk of stroke.
  • increase the risk of heart attacks
  • worsen asthma or cause an increase in frequency of attacks
  • triggers behaviors that contribute to death and disability, such as smoking, alcoholism, drug abuse etc.
  • diminished sexual desire
  • inability to achieve orgasm.
  • stress makes it harder to take other steps to improve health, such as giving up smoking or making changes in diet.
Stress also causes mental and emotional affects like
  • Irritability
  • Self- Esteem problems
  • Depression
  • Can make you feel jumpy/shaky
  • Feeling of hopelessness
Crazy Stress Facts:
  • According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, two-thirds of office visits to family doctors are for stress-related symptoms.

  • Stress-related mental disorders have been called the fastest-growing occupational (work-related) disease in the U.S.

Physical activity is one of the best methods of managing
stress. It benefits your stress levels in a few basic ways.

1. Exercise is physically and mentally strengthening, allowing your body to withstand the effects of stress.
2. Exercise stretches muscles that have grown tight due to stress.

3. Exercise requires the mind to focus on the activity at hand, rather than whatever is currently stressful.
4. Exercise burns adrenaline stores, built up from m
inor daily stresses, and releases endorphins, which cause a calming effect on the brain (this is the "high" you might feel after a workout).
5. Exercise increases your oxygen intake.

6. Boosts self-esteem and overall feeling of wellness.

"Exercise increases blood flow to the brain, releases hormones, stimulates the nervous system, and increases levels of morphinelike substances found in the body (such as beta-endorphin) that can have a positive effect on mood. Exercise may trigger a neurophysiological high-a shot of adrenaline or endorphins- that produces an antidepressant effect in some, an antianxiety effect in others, and a general sense of "feeling better" in most."
-Michael H. Sacks, M.D.: Exercise For Stress Control

If you didn't read any of that or if you didn't find it at all motivating or interesting..maybe these power pics will do the trick!


  1. That pic of Hilary Swank running on the beach is amazing... I wish I looked like that when I worked out... and speaking of working out, our post defintely reminded me I need to do more of it.

  2. You pretty much described what the past year has been like for me. Stress has changed me as a person. We've had six major lay offs at my company, so I spent every day in the last year thinking I was going to get cut. I got sick 14 times and gained 20 pounds. Still employed, I am just now trying to pick up the pieces now that it's over.
    I am thinking of joining jazzercise because I think the dancing would be fun and I find it more interesting than exercise equipment.
    Thanks for all the stress facts! :)

  3. stress can make you feel horrible. I am going to the gym tonight. lol

  4. Stress causes my migraines, and makes it feel like my head's going to explode!

  5. I'm definitely with you on this one. Exercising makes me feel GREAT. I like to jog outside in the early morning or late at night. Even if I go to the gym, I always feel revitalized afterward.

    The hardest part is getting to the gym. Once you're there, you definitely feel good about it.

  6. I gave you an award. Hope you don't mind:) Have a great day gal!


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