Some of you have asked about the overall load of stress on the body and why it’s imortant
Really when you dig into it, it’s more than just the CNS. There’s a whole flurry of hormones that are affected by stress as well. Head on over to RMAX International and click on ‘Magazine’ on the top menu, select Volume 7 Issue 3, then jump to page 27. There is an excellent article by Dr. Kathryn Woodall of the effects of stress related to exercise, health and diet. I’ve outlined some key points below.
“If there is Physical Stress that is high enough for you to be wondering if you need to compensate for it, you probably do.
If your diet is of poor quality greater than 15-20% of the time, your exercise and hormones are likely to suffer as a result.
If you’re exercising at high intensity every single day, you are not giving your body a chance to rebuild and repair even if you’re eating well and keeping the rest of the stress your life to a minimum. Do it for long enough and your hormones will no longer be able to compensate so that you will get injured and be sick more frequently. Add in extra stress and that is a recipe for trouble.
The glands[adrenal] go through three phases of functions beyound their typical day to day activities.
1. Alarm Phase
Cortisol and DHEA are high
Function is heightened
This has no negative side effects as long as it’s short lived
Symtoms are considered good by most people because of the “high” associated with this phase
Exercise typically doesn’t need to be adjusted for this phase as long as the stress is short lived.”
I’m sure you can see where the deployed enviroment can make for some serious problems. Who has a diet that is high quality better than 15-20% of the time in a deployed status? No one. Exercise can also be interchangable with daily mission load, it’s all physical. So high intensity exercise combined with daily missions pretty much guaruntee’s an injury and feeling like crap. Phase 1 of adrenal fatigue can be stimulated by flight or fight response. Getting spooked once a tour is ok, all the time you will be in Phase One adrenal fatigue. Also the deployed enviroment eventually takes it’s toll and even office jockeys can slowly start sliding into phase 1 after a long tour.
This has only explored the hormonal aspects. The CNS operates basically the same way. Too much stress and it starts to short circuit and stimulating the adrenals. Quite a conundrum!
So what’s the fix? Adjust your exercise to mesh with mission load, regardless of whether it’s a physical or mentally taxing mission, but especially the physical. Eat as best as possible. Even eating all the “healthy” things in the DFAC won’t be good enough. Most the meat and imported products just aren’t high quality enough, you’ll need a good supplementation plan specifically directed towards providing nutrients. Feel your body, you know it best. Don’t let competition in the gym destroy your health instead of improve it! Research and practice relaxation methods, something as simple as relaxing stretches before bed concentrating on hip flexors, neck and back.