Running is not for everyone!
I was recently on a running track alongside a busy highway when I received a spray of abuse from a passenger in a car. It’s not the first time it has happened – actually it’s surprisingly common. Obviously it didn’t hurt me, and I suppose it comes out of the joy within an action that bears no consequence. Whatever. I don’t really get it…but it leaves me thinking every time. In a twisted way it motivates me. I start to think about how I would respond if the abuser actually had the gaul to do it NOT from a car driving 80kph in the opposite direction to me!
So, with tongue slightly in cheek – and without wanting to be labelled an internet tough guy – I leave my response to destiny in the hands of cyberspace.
Here’s why you’re better off undertaking some physical activity than riding shotgun in a passenger vehicle:
Recently I’ve noted a number of reports on Australians who aren’t taking holidays.
In fact, almost a third of Australian workers have no planned leave in the next 12 months.
In a rare moment of nostalgia over the weekend, my mind was cast back to my youth in the ’80′s. I saw a video clip from 1986, where a lady was dancing with total abandon to herself. It may have been my ignorance to the big bad world at the time, but I was taken by the simplicity of it all. No special effects, REAL instruments, images of books with tangible paper pages. Classic ’80′s production epitomising the world in which I grew up. Continue reading
I begin by referring back to an earlier post to expand on a single point regarding our western setting.
As stated in this article, stress should be acute – we perceive threat, we deal with it, and we move on. However, the nature of many stressful situations are diluted, and so we see an internal build up. Our society is laden with fighters who have nobody to fight!
We need to chase a tiger every once in a while!
Think about the recent times where you’ve had more hours of work than working hours in the day. That’s your internal queue to ramp up a response that could – and should – challenge a raging bull. The difference being that with the bull, you dodge it or end up wearing a horn; either way, the outcome is determined within a short matter of time. Continue reading
A recent post by a colleague, Scott Wood, highlighted that if you want to lose weight you need to do more than just walk.
Walking uses four times as much energy as sitting on a couch, however, when we factor a 30 minute walk into our whole day the increase in energy expenditure is no more than what we would get from not eating a banana.
While skipping the banana would be the easier option, I believe there is much more to walking than just the calories burnt. Continue reading
Before we can make sense of how exercise can help us deal with stress better, it will be useful to understand the physiology of stress and how it affects us.
Needless to say, a great starting point is to highlight that the best way to deal with stress is to reduce your stress drivers and how you deal with them. Let us encourage you to look at those in your daily life and seek the support of qualified therapists in these area.
To support your changes, exercise is a great tool to improve your body’s capacity to absorb the effects of stress.
At a physiological level, stress is a desired response designed for a “fight or flight” situation. The physiological process that is triggered to help us deal with such an event is described below, but its important to keep in mind that it should occur over short durations, and then ‘dealt’ with (by fighting or running!).
The result is the release of adrenaline which is almost instantaneous and increases alertness and cortisol, which peaks at about 15-30 min after the start of the stress trigger. The whole point of these responses is to give us the required energy to deal with the situation at hand, by elevating blood pressure, increasing blood sugar (for energy) and decreasing most other non-essential systems. the problem in our modern western settings is that we don’t face too many ‘acute’ (short lasting) triggers (such as a threatening animal, etc), but rather longer lasting chronic stresses, such as work and financial pressures. In the ‘acute’ settings, increased physical activity was the way we dealt with the threat – i.e. by fighting or escaping – this would then help diffuse the physiological effects of stress mentioned above.
In our chronic western settings we don’t deal with stress in a physical manner. As a matter of fact we all well know that the amount of exercise we do is consistently decreasing, and even more so the busier we are. So we don’t often get to diffuse the heightened physiological responses. The result is chronically elevated levels of cortisol, which lead to Hypertension, Insulin resistance, and OBESITY.
So what is exercise good for? firstly it directly helps to reduce the physiological effects of stress, as we know that it will reduce insulin resistance, lead to hormonal responses that relax blood vessels, and use up excess blood sugar (and fat) for energy! Further more, through exercise the body becomes more physiologically efficient at dealing with the stress hormones in the first place. In addition you get all the emotional feel-good benefits of being active, a sense of achievement, and the opportunity to enjoy time doing something good for yourself!
so, don’t delay, get out there and MOVE!!!