Our bodies have adapted to the so-called "fight or flight" response since the days when humans had to either confront or flee wild animals such as lions and tigers in the wilderness. This physiological response mechanism still exists but of course our environment has changed. We now experience the daily stressors of life wrought by the advent of technology. Instead of facing a man-eating tiger, we now must contend with the pressures of slow-running computers, emails, traffic jams, and looming deadlines. Your body still reacts the same way with regard to the "fight or flight" response by releasing hormones such as epinephrine (adrenaline), norepinephrine and cortisol. These are the hormones responsible for elevating your heart rate, blood pressure and breathing rate in order for your body to confront the threat. But the difference between the threat of a lion versus that of your boss is the lion will go away eventually. The same cannot be said about your boss. The key difference between these two scenarios is that the lion provides an outlet for adrenaline release when it's gone. The looming boss or incessant email traffic does not provide an outlet for adrenaline release since these things never go away. The result is an escalation of adrenaline within the body. The consequence of not releasing adrenaline can become toxic to the body, slowly killing it over time.
How can we cope with the affects of stress on the body? Simple. Exercise. Exercise is the perfect healthy outlet for the buildup of adrenaline. The bonus is that exercise will help you to relax afterwards. This is known as the parasympathetic rebound in which the hormone acetylcholine is released. You've probably heard that living a life of moderation is healthy. Living a sedentary existence is not natural nor healthy for the mind and body. Step away from the ice cream, candy and chips. These foods can only provide temporary comfort from daily stress. Exercise provides a long-term and healthy approach that is unquestionably the best outlet from the daily stressors of life and enables hormonal balance. I highly recommend it.
Brian Danley, CFT
"Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going."
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I'm a personal trainer who loves to help others fulfill their health and fitness goals. I consider myself a bodybuilder in that I live the lifestyle of eating healthy food, working out regularly, and sculpting my body.