How do we balance physiological stress and mechanical stress?

Last time we learnt all about exercise LOAD and the role of mechanical stress. This time we complete the equation and discuss the other form of stress in this load equation and how we can modulate it to prevent injury.
LOAD = mechanical stress + PHYSIOLOGICAL STRESS
Modulating your workouts involves consideration of the mechanical stress applied during your previous workouts, current and future exercise, while constantly assessing what physiological stressors you have been exposed to during your work and personal life.

This means:

  1. thinking about what your exercise goals are,
  2. thinking about how you are feeling with regards to your energy/vitality, and
  3. being prepared to alter your exercise according to this assessment.

We then have 2 choices to achieve this balance of stress:


  • reduce the level of mechanical stress during high levels of physiological stress and perform some light, easy exercise or have a rest day; OR
  • gradually increase the level of mechanical stress in our exercise during periods of reduced physiological stress in our lives

The Bottom LineDon’t stress!!  Modulate your workouts to prevent injury
When you are feeling ‘stressed’, don’t disregard it as your body is responding to a physical or emotional ‘threat’. Modulate your exercise to include lighter, easier sessions or rest days to take this into account. This is one of the best ways to avoid injury. Your body will duly respond and your next quality workout will be just around the corner, getting you closer to achieving your fitness goals, injury free!

Michael from In Touch Physio can help you monitor your mechanical/physiological stress and assist you with the design of an exercise program tailored to achieving your fitness goals and reduce the risk of sustaining an injury. To make an appointment or for more information go to

By Michael Bushell, Senior Physiotherapist, In Touch Physio

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