Too much stress flowing your body can be damaging for both your mental health, as well as your body itself. Chronic stress can lead too many negative consequences, including:
- Muscle breakdown
- Fat gain
- Hormonal abnormalities
- Anxiety and depression
There are many different things that can cause stress without you even realizing it. Below lists some of the top factors that can cause excessive stress to buildup in your body:
1. Endurance training
Endurance training can lead to elevated stress within the body because it is stressful on the muscles, joints, ligaments, and other tissues. The prime example of endurance training is long distance running. Individuals who are long distance runners tend to have a hard time keeping muscle because endurance training breaks down muscle, it does not build muscle.
Instead of long workouts such as jogging or using the elliptical, add short high intensity intervals to your workout and cut your workout time in half.
Worrying is one of the worst things you can do to yourself. What good does worrying do?? It literally has no value. Worrying about the past is consistent with depression, while worrying about the future is consistent with anxiety, and neither of these are things you can control. Constant worrying leads to greater mental stress as well as greater stress hormone to buildup within the body.
It is ok to be aware that you are concerned about something, acknowledge the awareness, write it down, and move on. Live in the present, consider trying meditation to help decrease mental stress.
Under nutrition means not consuming enough vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients from your diet. If your body is not getting the vitamins and essential nutrients it needs, this can put the body into a stressful state. This type of situation can happen both if you are not eating enough and if you are eating enough but not enough of the right foods.
Plan to space out your meals 3-5 hours and eat plenty of healthy fat, protein, and vegetables. Keeps healthy snacks with you at all times in case you get hungry - this will prevent you from snacking on food from the vending machine or eating the donuts that were left in your office.
4. Too much high intensity training
This means high intensity interval training every single day. High intensity interval training is the most effective workout, but it should not be done every day because this is intense exercise and too much intensity can cause elevated stress.
Aim to get 1-3 really good high intensity interval training sessions in per week. You don't have to fully stop exercising, just cut back on the intensity. You can even still do intervals, just make sure that you aren't sprinting everyday :)
5. Poor sleep
We write about the importance of sleep all the time because it is so important! Sleep is when all of your hormones are able to reset so that they are able to function properly the following day. If you are not sleeping, this makes your hormones go haywire and increases stress hormones in particular.
Make sleep a priority and aim to get at least 7 hours of sleep every night. Determine what time you need to wake-up in the morning, and count back 7-9 hours to determine what time you need to go to sleep.
6. Too much sugar
Consuming too much sugar causes highs and lows in blood sugar, which is stressful on the mind and body. If you are constantly putting your body through this blood sugar roller coaster, this leads to chronic stress buildup in your body - and you can feel it! Think about when you get so hungry you feel irritable and anxious, also known as "hangry." This is a clear sign your body is telling you that you have done something to upset its natural cadence.
Aim to get less than 25 grams of sugar per day. Instead, eat more high quality fats and protein, and add vegetables to every meal.