Stress: The one thing you need to change for a healthier life
*I am not a medical professional or registered dietitian. As always, before beginning an exercise, nutrition, or supplement program, please consult with your doctor.
Raise your hand if you’ve ever felt stressed out before. 🙋
Everyone? That’s what I thought, because we have all been there before.
Whether it’s something to do with work, family, friends, finances, or a new life change–stress is present during many life events. Sometimes we feel stressed as a result of a good experience (anyone plan a wedding recently?!) and sometimes stress is as a result of an unfortunate circumstance (anyone lose a job recently?)
No matter where your stress comes from, whether good or bad, it is unfortunately not healthy for your body.
If you struggle with a chronic illness like myself, then you most likely very well know that stress can cause a set-back with your health.
Symptoms of Stress:
The following are only some of the symptoms that you may receive as a result of being stressed:
-Upset Stomach & Digestive Issues
-Chest pain or heart palpitations
-Depression or feeling overwhelmed
These are the most common symptoms from being stressed, however, depending on the level of your stress you may experience more severe symptoms. In speaking from experience, I have dealt with all of the above symptoms. In college, I actually pulled a muscle in my chest from being overly stressed and during wedding planning I ended up getting psoriasis (not a fun time). Your body shows signs of stress sometimes before you even realize how overwhelmed you are feeling!
Effects of Stress on your Health:
None of the symptoms of being stressed are healthy. Furthermore, being overly stressed can affect our ability to make rational decisions and our thoughts become clouded. Stress causes us to have too much on our minds, and as a result, we become disorganized and possibly forgetful.
These symptoms follow us into our work lives, making it harder to focus on tasks we need to complete. They can create issues in relationships, as being overly stressed can cause a lack of interest in intimacy. And lastly, it can cause many personal issues as some people turn to alcohol, drugs, or over-eating as a means to help relieve their stress.
The one thing you need to do to ensure that you are living a healthy lifestyle, is to control your level of stress.
I know, I know. This is easier said than done (trust me, I’ve been there!) But, without managing stress properly, it can lead to major health concerns such as obesity, heart problems, gastrointestinal issues, sexual dysfunction, and drug problems among many others.
From a fitness and nutrition perspective, stress can hinder your workouts as it causes a lack of sleep, which in turn makes it more difficult to complete a workout. Furthermore, being exposed to stress already takes a toll on the body, and trying to lift weights will continue to put joints and muscles under tension, leading to injury if the proper precautions aren’t taken first.
Nutrition-wise, when stressed, people tend to either over-eat or under-eat. Neither of which is healthy, as we need to ensure that our bodies are being given what they need. Over-eating can lead to weight gain which can add more stress to the joints. And under-eating, can lead to weight-loss, which if excessive, can lead to heart issues.
Therefore, if you are able to successfully and healthfully manage your stress, you are well on your way to becoming a healthier person.
Stay tuned this week for some tips on how to manage stress in healthy ways!