In this series about stress and its effects on your health, I’ll explain how and why the results of a frenetic pace can be down-right dangerous not only to your workouts but also to your health.
Can you relate to one or more three of the women below?
Janene is an accomplished and published local historian and tenured professor at a local university. She has two elementary school age kids. Her husband often travels for work. She runs with her buddies 4 mornings a week at 5AM. She admits she could lose around 20 pounds and gets frustrated her running routine isn’t helping her weight loss.
Kim is retired. She has a fun and “mostly relaxing” life. She helps her daughter care for her 2-year-old toddler. She volunteers at a local museum two days a week. She plays golf with her friends twice a week and volunteers as the welcome coordinator for new neighbors in her community. Kim suffers from chronic low back pain.
Lisa is mom of three and mom of the year. Her friends envy how she seems to “get it all done”. She is a room parent, cares for her elderly mother and tries to get to her local gym for the Abs and %#&sses class at 6am every Tuesday and Thursday and spins Saturdays at 7AM religiously with her best friend. She has been complaining about her shoulder and elbow pain for months. Her doctor told her to take a break from tennis. She is crushed.
The shared theme is stress. These women are busy, probably like you. And, their stress could possibly be the reason they can’t lose weight, feel anxiety and/or depression or suffer from chronic and pesky injury which can turn into be sidelined in a matter of breaths.
Stress: a state of mental OR emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances.
They, and you, can also be pushing themselves (yourselves), and putting their (your) health on the back-burner, and ignoring the signs to s-l-o-w d-o-w-n. This can result in conditions like weight gain, lack of sleep, injury and even serious medical conditions like diabetes and heart disease.
Pushing ourselves excessively – emotionally and physically – can lead us to behaviors like sugar dependence, over-reactivity, becoming injury prone and more serious illnesses.
Worst yet, from a gym owner’s perspective, we are becoming an overly-injured population. Currently 10% of our 175 clients are injured or sidelined for a variety of reasons. And if I had to bet, I would estimate the majority of those 10% are greatly impacted by the stress in their life.
- Between 60-80% of doctor’s visits in the US are due to stress-related conditions
- Studies show US employers spend 200 to 300 percent more on the indirect costs of health care in the form of absenteeism, sick days, and lower productivity than they do on actual health care payments
Those numbers are staggering. Imagine what our healthcare system would be like if we did a better job knowing how to manage stress.
Your body does not differentiate between emotional stress of a snow day/no school, a sick grandchild, a 10-mile run, a heated tennis match or running from a fire. It processes it all the same. Those stresses are going to happen. And those stresses may eventually impact your health, weight loss or being injury free if not managed. So, don’t sweat the small stuff and breathe, my friends. Just start breathing…