You have more control over how your body handles stress than you might think, advises exercise physiologist Jenny Evans.
“Stress will never go away completely,” says the popular wellness expert and coach. “It’s not about eliminating the factors that cause your stress; it’s more about training the body to adapt and recover from it more successfully.”
Research studies link stress with a variety of physical ailments from headache to depression to symptoms that mimic a heart attack. Evans offers these nutrition and fitness tips to prevent harmful stress overload.
Opt for snacks and meals that contain a combination of protein, fiber, and fat to steady your blood glucose levels and cut down on food cravings.
Practice mindful eating. Don’t eat while sitting in front of a computer at work or in front of a television at home. Put down the fork (or spoon) between bites.
Eat a small meal or snack every three to four hours to help prevent glucose levels from becoming too low or too high.
Fit fitness into your life. Aerobic activity and interval training reduce stress, boost energy, and help people get the deep sleep they need.
“It’s best to take on intense physical activity during the day or up three to four hours before bed,” adds Jenny Evans, who is also creator of the fitness program PowerHouse Hit the Deck. “Body temperatures increase during exercise and can take several hours to drop. It’s important to allow the body to cool off before sleep because cooler body temperatures are associated with sleep onset.”
The bottom line: Don’t consider stress as a synonym for distress. To protect your health and well-being, identify the stressors in your life, reduce the ones you can, and find healthy ways to respond to the ones that are not in your control.
“A family member or a boss at work is never going to ask less of you day to day,” says Evans, “but if you learn how to properly cope with stress, these demands become easier to handle.”
Click here for satisfying snack ideas.
Become a Saturday Evening Post member and enjoy unlimited access. Subscribe now