The No.1 injury prevention strategy – Modulate your STRESS (Part 2)

Physiological stress: Friend or Foe?
When we fail to respond suitably to an emotional or physical ‘threat’, whether it be real or perceived, our body initiates a ‘Fight or Flight’ response and our adrenal glands release a substance called cortisol. This is known as the ‘stress hormone’. During this response, our body sends stored energy to our working muscles and also suppresses the functions of growth, repair, digestion, sexual drive and the immune system, so as to conserve valuable energy. If the ‘Fight or Flight’ response is turned on too often or we remain continually in a state of ‘Fight or Flight’, very typical in modern life, this can cause immense wear and tear on the cells of our body.

What is Physiological stress?
This represents the physiological changes that our body experiences from the workings of our nervous system, endocrine/hormonal system and immune system. Bodily responses such as heart rate, blood pressure, metabolism/energy production, muscle tension, respiration (breathing) rate and perspiration are all influenced by the level of physiological stress placed on our body.

Sources of physiological stress:

  • Emotional stress is generated as a response to our personal and work lives such as long work hours, periods of intense concentration, challenging personal relationships or raising a family.
  • Physical stress is generated as a response to our exercise sessions and vary according to the intensity and duration of those sessions.

Too much physiological stress
Prolonged levels of emotional or physical stress leads to the consistent release of cortisol that can adversely affect memory function and cause suppression of the immune, growth/repair and reproductive systems. It can even influence the dysfunction of our organs leading to a greater risk of developing disorders and diseases later in our life.

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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