Fitness Friday: Stress

For today's Fitness Friday, I am filled with thoughts of this difficult week. It calls to mind how hard stress of any kind can be on a body. Most of us live our lives at full throttle for so long our bodies start to crumble. We toss in some meds, patch up what's crumbling, and go back to full throttle. Your car, your computer, your children, and you are not created to go full throttle 100% of the time. I've already talked about this to some degree when I mentioned how valuable sleep is for fitness. Sleep is a body's way of healing and restoring itself.

Stress, be it from major life upheavals or just life in general, wears a body down. When you are stressed here are just a few things that happen in your body:

your stomach dumps excessive acid. This can cause heartburn and, over time, erode your esophageal lining (speaking from experience on this one).

you clench your teeth/ jaws. This wears out your teeth as well as puts undue pressure on your joints/ skull.

your breathing becomes shallow. Most of us go through life only filling our lungs about half-way. Which only fills your body half-way with oxygen. Oxygen is a good and glorious thing, and all of your organs are much happier when fully oxygenated.

you jut your chin forward (do an evaluation of how you are currently sitting right now at your computer). If your head isn't aligned over your torso/ shoulders, you could be adding up to 25 pounds of extra pressure to your neck and shoulders.

To de-stress: it takes practice, but you can train yourself to not take on the physical signs of stress. Straighten up your spine to put your head in place. Take DEEP breaths -- I told my 2nd graders to breathe so deeply that their tummy poked out! Relax your jaw. We carry stress in our face and hands. Stretch out your fingers while you relax your jaw. And if you have time, do something that is a stress reliever for you: curl in a chair with a book, go for a walk, call a friend. I have gotten to the point in my fitness that a HARD workout is one of the best things I can do for a grouchy/ cluttered/ stressed brain. I love it -- but that may not be for you. Laughter is another one of those healing things -- watch a movie sure to make you laugh out loud.

In short: be good to yourself. Whatever is causing you stress shouldn't be allowed to take your health, also. Deep breath in, deep breath out, one foot in front of the other, moving on.


Kelly Sessions said...

Sarah, I am so sorry to hear about your loss. I did run across one of my favorite songs from Jeff Johnson (the guy I had told you about before, cutie christian singer), well I ran across this song on my ipod and though of you.

"Everlasting, Your light will shine when all else fades
Never ending, Your glory goes beyond all fame
And the cry of my heart is to bring You praise
From the inside out Lord, my soul cries out...Let justice and praise become my embrace
To love You from the inside out..."

Just a great song...check out my blog for the awesome acappella of him singing it! My prayers are lifted for you and your friends!

Roxanne said...

I slept until 8:15. . .took a nap from 11:00 to 12:15 on the couch, then got in my bed at 2:00 and slept until 4:15. . .didn't tell you that during our conversation. I think I needed some rest. I hope you pencil a nap and a couple of GRUESOMELY HARD workouts this week. :)

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