Time for a little vocab lesson.
Allostatic (say it with me – Al – Oh -Stat-Ick) Load – the wear and tear on the body which grows greater as we become exposed to repeated or chronic stress.
Allostasis is the the process by which the body responds to stressors in order to regain homeostasis. When we reach allostatic overload, allostasis begins to go awry sending the body signals to remove or lessen the amount of stress to regain balance. This is when injury, fatigue, disease and illness begin to set in. Ok – enough with all the sciency stuff. Does your brain hurt yet?
Let’s think of allostatic load like a bucket. The more “things” you put into the bucket the fuller it becomes until it eventually overflows and things start to spill out the side. As you are reaching that spill point, your brain begins to limit strength/movement potential.
Some surprising stressors? Inefficient or under developed visual and motor skills, poor balance, inefficient movement patterns and even slightly inefficient breathing can significantly add to that stress bucket!
Ever have unexplainable pain, headaches, nausea, etc? Thats your body trying to regain allostasis by stopping you in your tracks to “chill out.” As the bucket fills, so can inflammation in the GI tract, which is where the absorption of all our nutrients occurs. Serotonin, the ‘feel good’ chemical in our brain is made in the gut. If our gut is malfunctioning due to inflammation, then your ability to produce serotonin may also be compromised. Ignore these and more insidious ailments occur like IBS, fibromyalgia, or even contribution to growth of diseases and cancers.
Our brain communicates with multiple systems as it constantly manages our survival and bucket. Vision alone provides our brain with 150 million neural signals to process every second! So if the signals from multiple systems are poor from these stressors, it will cause inadequate information/input. The brain will then limit our output or our overall performance based on the input- bucket filling up. This can include: decreased range of motion, increased pain, decreased speed, decreased strength, etc. because the brain does not feel “safe” to perform the task at optimal levels.
So what are some things you can do to lessen these stressors (because God knows car payments won’t be going away anytime soon)?
A balanced lifestyle and neural drills.
Below are three tips you can incorporate everyday to lessen allostatic load, decrease your stress bucket and help you perform better:
- BREATHING – DIAPHRAGMATIC
The average person takes anywhere from 15,000 to 25,000 breaths per day. That’s a lot of breathing! Try this diaphragmatic breathing drill, begin breathing more efficiently and circulate a more well-balanced oxygen to CO2 ratio throughout your blood.
2. VISION – THE PENCIL PUSH-UP
Your brain receives 150 million neural signals/second from your eyes. If your visual system is even slightly impaired, it may comprise your performance. We recommend starting with basic eye strengthening drills like the pencil push-up.
Quality movement can make a big difference. There are so many options to choose from. Try our favorite movement drills the turkish sit up. Start with no weight to begin with, and as your strength builds over time, load more weight into your hand. Once you’ve mastered the turkish sit up, you can move onto it’s progressions until you’ve reached the full turkish get-up. Make this a fun experiment with your body. We highly recommend beginning with no weight with 3-6 repetitions per side for 3 sets.
Turkish Sit Up
Progressions – Half Kneeling
FULL Turkish Get Up
Want some more? Learn how you can you start eliminating stress and grow stronger with one of our custom training programs by clicking here.