HEALTH & HAPPINESS: STRESS:
Stress is something that we naturally go through, every single day. It comes in many forms but is only recognisable by the body as stress.
It inhibits the bodies ability to recover from training, to perform, and it can also damage your ability to burn body fat.
In this blog I want to talk about stress, and how it can effect you mentally and physically on three fronts:
- Lifestyle and health.
I will then explain how we can manage stress levels and the importance of knowing our body.
So, with that being said. Let's get started:
When we look at the impacts stress can have on performance we need to look at physical stress, and mental stress.
Starting with physical stress then.
Athletes (you) who are physically stressed from training or competing will be more susceptible to injury, fatigue and poor performance.
It can lead to headaches, loss of appetite (we all know if you aren't fuelled, you wont perform), insomnia, chest pains and upset stomachs.
All of the above effect the bodies ability to perform.
Which can lead to more stress mentally.
Ever been out for a run and just thought, "I just don't feel right today", heavy legs, feeling constantly de hydrated or just not able to maintain the miles you usually can do?
This can be a sign of physical stress.
The above effects can also have an effect on us mentally, so let's lead onto the effects of stress on us mentally:
The effects of stress on our mental health is an incredibly important aspect of training, and competing that many people overlook. It can create feelings of anxiety and overwhelm.
This then can lead us to issues such as loss of appetite, lack of energy and loss of sleep, amongst other things.
When looking at performance, mental stress can also cause performance based issues.
I can always tell as soon as I get out on the bike if my mind is in it. If I have had a stressful time at work, or at home I sometimes feel like thrashing it on steep downhill runs is not what I want to be doing. Also riding on the road when stressed isn't beneficial to me either as cars and peoples behaviour can be so much more aggravating when stressed.
I'm sure this is something that more people go through, and there will always be a relatable story in terms of stress. A story that effects more than your performance, and with that being said. Let's move onto our next topic:
Lifestyle and health:
When looking at how stress effects our lifestyle and health take into account the above factors, and then think about how these things effect your home life.
I know for a fact that if I feel stressed and this effects my riding I won't be in a great mood for the rest of the day. Leading to arguments, and negative time spent with friends and family. I know also that stress effects how I eat, and my patience when preparing food. It makes me eat more carbs than I usually would or crave bad food. Namely the big golden M!
All in all it just puts me in a negative mindset and this, is one that I try and avoid.
So with these three aspects of life covered, how do we overcome stress, and what can we do to help ourselves?
The next phase of this blog will look into this:
When it comes to overcoming stress, this is a very individual thing. We all have certain causes of stress, some people find driving stressful, while others don't mind this but get stressed by indecisive people.
Likewise, we all have our own ways of de stressing our bodies.
At this point it is also important to remember that training, and exercise also adds to the stress our bodies go through.
So one easy way to limit the amount of stress we are under is to control the amount of exercise in our lives and understand that training might change if you are. Understanding you body and how your body reacts is key here.
I want to share now a few things that stress me out, and ways I have found to deal with them. They may work for you, they may not. But hopefully they open your eyes to a few possible cures:
Stressful days at work/Meditation for 15 minutes.
Driving/Listening to podcasts where I can zone out and soak up knowledge, or calming music.
Business/Reading and reflecting on a regular basis so I am always increasing my knowledge.
Quiet days at work/Reflecting and understanding that all things are temporary.
Overthinking/Writing things down that I am thinking, This also helps with a lack of sleep.
Just a few examples of things that cause me stress and how I deal with them. This is a great way to control stress and I hope some of them work for you. I also hope this blog opens your eyes to the fact that everyone suffers from stress and gets affected by it in ways similar to how you do perhaps.
Bear in mind that being stressed is inevitable and there may be times where you have to look at your training and adapt it to cater for this stress.
Planned a big day running or a competition? Look at your stress and train accordingly in the lead up to it so you don't burn out leading up to the event or competition.
Managing stress is an important part of what I do and, like nutrition. Is very individual.
In this article I have tried to create scenarios you can relate to and I hope that is the case.
But if you do feel like you need some guidance, feel free to email me at for a chat.
Stay safe, stay happy.