When stress deters exercising

When one is stressed, they are processing lots of information at the same time. That puts immense pressure the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus; parts of the brain that process the short and long term memory respectively thus tiring the brain extensively. PHOTO | COURTESY

It is known that one way to relieve stress is by exercising. However, when one is extremely stressed, they may fail to do that squat or even take a walk because the ability to engage in any activity is simply snuffed out. This inability is aggravated by taking caffeine, poor eating habits as well as fast paced environs. 

According to research by Harvard Medical School working out helps in the production of endorphins which help in relieving pain and bettering one’s mood. However, when stress is intense, the will and ability to workout is tampered with. Just like a stressed person may fail to be productive at their workplace, so can they fail to hit the gym.

Here is how stress negatively impacts exercising:

Deters or slows recovery

When one is working out, muscles tear or break due to engaging in rigorous exercises such as intense cardiovascular activities. That requires that one incorporates rest days in their workout regimen. However, when one is extremely stressed, sleep eludes them causing them to toss all night. “Such  people wake up more tired than when they slept meaning the muscles are also deprived of resting and subsequently healing. Additionally, the muscles will not grow well which is a function of rest. The delay in recovery and repair negatively affects your momentum to work out,” Elvis Kyaterekera, a fitness instructor shares.

Prone to injury

It is reasonable to feel sore after a workout more so a rigorous one. However, when one is stressed, the mental demands are high which lowers stress. Poorly rested muscles are also prone to injury which greatly limits one’s ability to keep track of their workout and fitness goals. Kyaterekera adds that when one is not well rested, generally, their ability to handle equipment as well as do their work outs the right way is wanting exacerbating injury occurrence. 

Reduced focus

When one is stressed, their thought train is disturbed because they cannot keep their mind on one thing. That will affect their level of concentration. “When one is not concentrating on say, the weights they are carrying, there is a possibility of dropping them thus hurting themselves. Poor focus also leads to veering off the way certain workouts are done which hurts the body. For example, if weights are not carried a certain way, there is a possibility of hurting the back. That may lead to a lifelong battle for life,” Jolly Kasibante, a fitness enthusiast says.

Less time to exercise

Extreme stress means that one thinks a lot about the disturbing circumstance. It could be that one is behind their sales schedule or has a relative in intensive care unit (ICU). As these thoughts weigh them down, Kasibante says with time, they will spend more time bowed on their office desk or on the couch. “Stress is very distracting and also overwhelming thus robbing you of the ability to do several things and working out is one of these. Therefore, exercising becomes yet another chore on the to-do list. With this, the quality of exercising also suffers because it is done with less fervor and as a matter of routine. Additionally, exercising may easily get scrapped off the to-do list because it no longer seems interesting,” she says. However, the way out could be looking at stress as a springboard to work out because exercising will help lower its impact.

Poor body functionality

When one is experiencing stressful moments, the body fights back by releasing the cortisol hormone. When the stress levels get intense, more of the hormone is released. Excesses of the hormone, according to Kyaterekera affects one’s immunity, and blood pressure. That leaves one with low energy levels. Additionally, too much cortisol in the body triggers insulin production which also triggers sugar cravings. “That is detrimental for someone whose goal is weight loss more so in the midsection because consumption of lots of sugary things piles excess calories on to the person. Coupled with slower metabolism, the weight loss goals are greatly affected,” he says.  Lower your cortisol levels by sleeping early for more hours of sleep thus better functionality,” Kyaterekera says.