Should you Exercise when under Stress?

The majority of us understand the benefits of exercise and its relationship to stress coping. For over three decades, research has shown without criticism, that aerobic conditioning (30-60 minutes of light jogging) and recreational pursuits (unorganised game of football) strongly assist in helping individuals relieve their level of anxiety. However, in recent years, a new message has prevailed, not to counter-argue the foregoing, but to redefine it.

New research suggests that intense and exhaustive exercise can have deleterious effects on our health. In fact, the benefical effects of regular physical activity, i.e. prevention of chronic diseases, are lost with exhaustion. It is now understood that intense and exhaustive exercise, exercising to the point of fatigue, can increase the amount of free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) we produce within our body.

Cells continuously produce free radicals and reactive oxygen species as part of metabolic processes, i.e. the breakdown of food for energy. However, these agents are neutralised by an elaborate antioxidant defense system, including vitamins A, E and C. Yet, with exhaustive forms of exercise, particularly pertaining to athletic endeavours, the body over produces these substances, leading to extensive structural damage or inflammatory reactions within the muscles. This being so, reactive oxygen species pose a serious threat to our body's natural cellular antioxidant defense system, and with a diminished reserve of antioxidant vitamins in the body, our body's tissue is susceptible to oxidative stress. Moreover, for athletes, it relates to greater potential for injury and absenteeism from training and competition.

At this point, let us highlight the term oxidative stress. I want you to think of oxidative stress in a similar manner to the cutting open of an apple. Once the apple is cut and exposed to the elements, the apple, over a period of time, begins to turn brown and undergo oxidation. Similarly, leaving our car parked across from the ocean daily, can promote oxidation, in the form of rust. Hence, just like a apple or car, the cells in our body can undergo oxidation, i.e rusting, and it this increase in rust that surrenders out body to further damage. In fact, there is research to suggest that skeletal muscle, the muscle we can see, i.e. bicep muscle, is subjected to greater levels of oxidative stress during exercise than our liver and heart. Therefore, the is strong research recommending that athletes undertaking exhaustive exercise require greater antioxidant protection, via supplementation, against potential oxidative damage. For this reason, I would suggest that both junior and senior athletes look at utilising high quality, health care practitioner prescribed supplementation, as a way to deter the negative impact exhaustive exercise can have on your body. This is an area I can assist you with.

If you would like to discuss this matter or a health related topic, please write to Alternatively, you can make an appointment to see me by ringing (02) 49235959 or 0432234822.

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