Stress is often the forgotten pillar of Optimal Health. No matter what gains you make with nutrition, exercise or recovery, excessive mental and physical stress can prevent you from achieving your fullest potential. Being able to balance the good stress, such as exercise, with the bad stress, such as injury and emotional hardship, is key.
At PERFORMANCE, our team considers all factors that affect your stress levels in order to design the most comprehensive plan in a holistic approach to your health. Our team will educate you on how to track and manage your stress levels, guide you on when to push the limits with exercise and when to recover, and practice breath work or meditation strategies.
Once you are empowered to manage your stress appropriately, it will become a tool at your disposal, rather than a barrier, to achieving Optimal Health.
BALANCING STRESS THROUGH THE FOUR PILLARS
Exercise is stress — whether it is positive or negative stress, that is up to you. Depending on how long you exercise, length of recovery period, and how hard you push yourself during your workout, exercising can be a positive or negative stressor. Too much can overwork you and leave you sore and in pain. But in the right doses, exercise can elevate your endorphin levels, improve your mental or emotional state and change your body in a positive way. For more, listen to our podcast on balancing positive and negative stress in your life.
Our physical therapists and wellness experts know how to navigate this balance and will educate you on how best to approach exercise, tailoring their programs to your body and your needs.
Excessive stress on the body and mind can result in a flight or fight response. Recovery is a necessary component of balancing stress: it allows the body to take a second and recharge, get rid of any negative stress and prepare for the positive stress. Recovery methods such as NormaTec Compression Therapy, for example, remove toxins from the body and act like a lymphatic massage.
Heat and cold therapies can also have a significant impact on your recovery. Cryotherapy decreases the aforementioned fight or flight response promoting recovery after a session. On the other hand, heat exposure from the infrared sauna can provide a positive stressor for your body, ramping up its lymphatic, immune and cardiovascular response.
Performance recovery specialists have years of experience under their belt and will guide you to find the appropriate recovery method for you. Whether you are in pain or simply want to feel better, taking the time to understand the importance of recovery will go a long way. If you recover better, you will perform better.
You are what you eat: food can either give us energy or take it away. Foods that are processed and high in sugar and saturated fats cause negative stress on the body, which is not receiving the proper micro and macronutrients it craves. This can cause lethargy, inflammation, bloating and other issues.
Sometimes it can be difficult navigating your way through the world of nutrition, but our nutrition experts and dieticians are here to educate you on proper nutrition. They share knowledge and provide recommendations based on your needs and goals and empower you to eat — and live — better.
Yoga is not just an exercise meant to improve flexibility, but to improve one's overall wellness. It focuses on the mind-body connection, allowing you to release tension, relax and find space in your mind and body. Practicing yoga can help one focus on breathing, improve mindfulness and take a break from the day's stressors.
Negative stress can cause a biological response in the body, from headaches to hives, or lack of sleep to poor performance. Yoga is a tool to manage that stress, relieving it through breathing techniques, reflection and movement. Yoga allows you to clear your head and focus on holding a pose or pause to listen and become more aware of your body's limitations, strengths and needs.
Stress can also cause tension in your muscles, and yoga alleviates that tension through stretching, breathing and targeted movements.
Measuring your stress levels through wearable technology, such as a Fitbit, Apple Watch or Oura ring, can prove invaluable. Establishing your baseline and seeing how sleep, physical activity and diet affect your stress levels is the first step to managing stress effectively.