A great deal is said about stress. It’s a word used generally to mean a feeling of overwhelming. The modern lifestyle we live in is radically different from our forefathers. Our physiology was never designed to deal with what is thrown at us today. We have become out of touch with the natural rhymes that so dictate our physiology and by consequence our health.
Everything we do places stress on us. Stress can be both positive (eustress) or negative (distress). For example, exercise if dosed correctly can force positive adaptation so overtime our capacity for load improves. However, this same exercise if inappropriately dosed could cause distress as the body is unable to recover appropriately resulting in a catabolic or breaking down effect resulting in a loss of capacity.
Our stress response is regulated via the autonomic nervous system (ANS). As the name suggests it is largely outside of our conscious control. Its ANS regulates many different essential body functions such as heart rhythm, digestion, hormone production, excretion, and so on. The ANS is divided into two systems, the sympathetic and the parasympathetic systems. The sympathetic system's primary role is that involved in the fight or flight response and the parasympathetic system is that antagonist to that in that its primary role is that involved in rest and digest. Therefore in the case of an emergency the sympathetic system will become activated and after the emergency has passed the parasympathetic system will become activated to return us back to equilibrium.
Problems arise however when the allostatic load (demands on our physiology) are too great and too prolonged that we develop a state called chronic stress or sympathetic dominance. From an evolutionary perspective, our physiology was never designed to deal with such prolonged periods of sympathetic dominance. As a consequence, many physical systems are negatively affected due to elevated levels of stress hormones such as cortisol and norepinephrine.
Like I stated previously everything we do places a stressor on us ranging from the exercises we do, to what we eat, to lifestyle choices we make. To counter the deleterious effects of negative stress I have put together a comprehensive stress management programme which I have called Stress 360. The Stress 360 programme is designed to help support you in applying small but powerful lifestyle interventions that will help you live a more balanced and healthy lifestyle.
Stress 360 uses a number of both objectives as well as subjective metrics to help support and direct your progress. Over time this will evolve into a personalised stress management toolkit that will give you the resources to manage the stressors that life places on you more successfully.
Muscle and other soft-tissue is constantly contracting and releasing to enable movement. But often they can also get stuck and glued to each other. This can change tissue behaviour, limit movement and also affect how the tissue communicates with the nervous system. Stretch and release also engages the parasympathetic system eliciting relaxation and calm. This is a great class for maintaining movement capacity, range of movement and nervous tension.