Sounds counterintuitive at first blush.
More stress? Screw you, nerd. My life is full of stress, so why do I want more of it?
The key is the type of stress.
I agree that you don’t need more yelling from your boss at work or via Zoom as you sit there in your tie and underwear.
However, if you apply the right type and duration (dose) of stress, it's profoundly beneficial for your health, performance and even body comp...
…and no, you don’t need to spend $10K on the latest biohack that you wear around your neck to change your electrical oura.
When you expose your body to a mild stressor, it kicks off a whole host of processes that make you better at that stressor the next time you encounter it.
In the research, the fancy pants term is called preconditioning.
For example, doing higher-intensity cardiovascular training is a form of cardiac preconditioning (1-6).
Your heart tissue is deprived….just a bit….of oxygen and the fuels that it needs due to the very high rate of work (exercise) being down. The work rate here of my M3 online clients is typically even higher as they're actively cursing my name while breathing hard on the Concept 2 rower.
Your body is a brilliantly designed system. It gets prepared for the next time this happens by getting a bit better at that stressor.
These changes include activation of hypoxia-inducible factor-1 and Nrf2 transcription factors, synthesis of antioxidant and ATP-generating enzymes, and a shift in microglia from pro- to anti-inflammatory phenotypes, to name a few (6).
Without the mechanistic ease, this is the concept of antifragility – a bit of stress not only makes you more resilient, but you are actually better able to handle that stressor.
Here is a graph:
In summary, mild stress just within your current capacity (eustress) = happy cells that live when they encounter intense stress.
No previous stress (no preconditioning) = dead or damaged cells when they encounter intense stress.
Want to prepare for upcoming intense stress?
Do a bit of preconditioning now to target the 4 homeostatic regulators, so you're more robust and antifragile when the time comes.
…because it will come.
Life has ups and downs for everyone.
Will you be ready?
Enroll in the Phys Flex Cert today and also get the 48-hour fast action bonus - a legit $250 consulting 1-hour call with me at no cost.
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PS – go to the link below for all of the details. Any questions, just hit reply.
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PPS – you can get both bonus items when you enroll before midnight tonight and at the cheapest price since it will be going up to just short of $1K in 2024.
1) Lalonde F, Poirier P, Arvisais D, Curnier D. Exercise-induced ischemic preconditioning and the potential application to cardiac rehabilitation: a systematic review. J Cardiopulm Rehabil Prev. 2015 Mar-Apr;35(2):93-102. doi: 10.1097/HCR.0000000000000099. PMID: 25622217.
2) Sabino-Carvalho JL, Obeid-Freitas T, Paula-Ribeiro M, Lopes TR, Ferreira THN, Succi JE, Silva AC, Silva BM. Ischemic preconditioning boosts post-exercise but not resting cardiac vagal control in endurance runners. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2019 Mar;119(3):621-632. doi: 10.1007/s00421-018-4052-3. Epub 2018 Dec 12. PMID: 30542933.
3) Crisafulli A, Pagliaro P, Roberto S, Cugusi L, Mercuro G, Lazou A, Beauloye C, Bertrand L, Hausenloy DJ, Aragno M, Penna C. Diabetic Cardiomyopathy and Ischemic Heart Disease: Prevention and Therapy by Exercise and Conditioning. Int J Mol Sci. 2020 Apr 21;21(8):2896. doi: 10.3390/ijms21082896. PMID: 32326182; PMCID: PMC7215312.
4) Santana MNS, Souza DS, Miguel-Dos-Santos R, Rabelo TK, Vasconcelos CML, Navia-Pelaez JM, Jesus ICG, Silva-Neto JAD, Lauton-Santos S, Capettini LDSA, Guatimosim S, Rogers RG, Santos MRVD, Santana-Filho VJ, Mesquita TRR. Resistance exercise mediates remote ischemic preconditioning by limiting cardiac eNOS uncoupling. J Mol Cell Cardiol. 2018 Dec;125:61-72. doi: 10.1016/j.yjmcc.2018.10.016. Epub 2018 Oct 16. PMID: 30339842.
5) Lalonde F, Poirier P, Sylvestre MP, Arvisais D, Curnier D. Exercise-induced ischemic preconditioning detected by sequential exercise stress tests: a meta-analysis. Eur J Prev Cardiol. 2015 Jan;22(1):100-12. doi: 10.1177/2047487313502447. Epub 2013 Aug 27. PMID: 23983070.
6) Sprick JD, Mallet RT, Przyklenk K, Rickards CA. Ischaemic and hypoxic conditioning: potential for protection of vital organs. Exp Physiol. 2019 Mar;104(3):278-294. doi: 10.1113/EP087122. Epub 2019 Jan 24. PMID: 30597638; PMCID: PMC6397065.
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Mike T Nelson CISSN, CSCS, MSME, PhD
Associate Professor, Carrick Institute
Owner, Extreme Human Performance,
LLC Editorial Board Member, STRONG Fitness Mag
Mike T Nelson is a PhD and not a physician or registered dietitian. The contents of this email should not be taken as medical advice. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any health problem - nor is it intended to replace the advice of a physician. Always consult your physician or qualified health professional on any matters regarding your health.