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  • Writer's pictureTelina R.Ac

Is Stress affecting your Gains?

We all know exercise is a form of stress and that physical activity can be used to reduce stress, but what happens if this stress is left to run wild with your mind and body?

Stress creates tension which can lead to headaches, injuries, or worse - both. When a muscle is constantly tightened it is not relaxed and supple and you therefore have a higher chance of pulling a muscle and causing damage. In order to get the gains you're after, the muscle needs to be able to properly contract. When in a state of stress, the muscle in shortened and there is less ability to create power and force in a lift.

Stress reduces concentration. If you're doing heavy lifting, your concentration is important. You need to psych yourself up to push the weight and focus on properly performing the lift to avoid injuries. Stress affects this ability and increases your chance of injury. This can also disrupt team sports. If you're not focused on the game due to stress, your ability to make decisions on which plays to run in order to dominate as a team is highly compromised. This is due to stress causing us to be more internally focused. If our focus is directed inwards, we have no room to coordinate what is going on around us. We are also at a loss with decision making skills and our ability to process outside information and evaluate the next steps to take.

Stress can disrupts your vision. Ever get that feeling when your hear bad news or are angry when everything begins to spin or goes blurry? Yeah, that's stress. When you can't see, it disrupts your ability to perform complex movements with hand-eye coordination involvement. How are you supposed to participate sports if you can't see where your team or the ball/birdie/puck is? Stress can also cause the muscles in your face and jaw to tighten leading to eye pain, redness or the eyes, jaw clenching, teeth grinding and more.

Stress slows down your gains progression. You know how when you're stressed your cuts and bruises take longer to heal? Same principle for lifting and physical activity. When you're lifting, your muscles are tearing and rebuilding themselves. Constant stress on your body hinders it's ability to heal after physical exertion and stops you from getting after those gains. Not only can it slow down your progression, but it can also slow you down from even wanting to go to the gym or wherever your go for your physical activity.

Stress can cause weight gain. When we are experiencing high stress levels, our bodies go in to "save yourself" mode. This causes us to keep more weight around our midsections to protect vital organs and have extra energy for our body to "feed off of". Our bodies then also crave more food, thus causing a cycle of weight gain.

How can Acupuncture Help?

Acupuncture has been found to elicit calming effects on the centers of the brain which are affected during stress ( limbic/paralimbic‐cerebellum and subcortical areas).

These results have also been found to have long lasting changes on the brain and at decreasing the levels of stress experienced by the individual with upkeep of treatments after the desired outcome has been reached.

Want to learn more about how acupuncture can help? Feel free to contact me on any of my social media pages or by email or phone.


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