What chronic stress is doing to your workout

A new study shows how individuals suffering from chronic stress take longer to recover after a grueling workout, and how mindfulness can help. 

Your state of mind could have as much to do with your physical fitness as a loaded dumbbell. 

A study from the Yale Stress Center, published in the journal of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, demonstrates how people with chronic stress take longer to recuperate from a high-impact exercise session. 

First, researchers tested the stress levels of 31 undergraduates with a psychological assessment. Then, participants performed a heavy workout, including leg weights. An hour after the workout, students with the lowest stress regained 60 per cent of their leg strength. The high-stress students regained 38 per cent. 

An explanation for the difference in recuperation rates? Stress affects hormones like cortisol and other chemicals in the body, which affect the body's repair rate. Another explanation could be the general well-being of the student: how they eat, sleep, etc. 

The Globe and Mail article reporting on the study suggests "stress reduction approaches like mindfulness and biofeedback could be as important to your physical fitness as crunches" and includes a quick breathing exercise. Further, the lead author of the study suggests mindfulness as a possible practice to reduce stress. 

For more articles on mindfulness and physical fitness, click here. 

08/27/12

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