This Is What Stress Does To Your Physical Fitness

Working late and balancing it out with hardcore fitness sessions? You could actually be damaging your health!

There’s a lot of pressure in the modern day to have it all – successful job, loads of friends, great house, awesome fitness regime. But is the cost of maintaining an Instagram worthy lifestyle worth it? Here are some of the side effects of pushing yourself too hard.

You’re tired all the time (even with enough sleep)

Feelings of stress release cortisol into the bloodstream which effectively readies our bodies for combat – tensed muscles, alert senses and constant expectation of danger leaves you feeling drained and tired, even if you get a solid eight hours. Another consequence of this is general aches and pains alongside headaches.

Your stomach just isn’t quite right

It could be diahorrea, constipation or nausuea – or a combination of all three! Stress triggers the “fight or flight” response of the nervous system, drawing blood away from the digestive system towards the brain and muscles – ready to fight or run away. Although this response is helpful in emergencies, if it becomes a regular occurence, it can totally mess up our digestive health.

You can’t sleep 

The hyperarousal that stress brings can result in difficulty falling asleep – or even trouble waking up after a disturbed night’s sleep. Not everyone under stress finds it hard to sleep, but those who do will be dealing with all of the side effects of sleep deprivation too.

You get colds often

You might have guessed it – all the above symptoms can leave you with a compromised immune system. If you find yourself reaching for the tissues more than four times a year, it’s worth looking at how you can look after yourself a little more.

There are many other physical symptoms of stress – all of them are a call to action (or inaction)! Take some time out – keep up your fitness with grounding classes like Yin and Restorative Recharge and prioritise getting to bed on time (even if you miss that quirky pop-up event you’ve been meaningn to visit). Keep your eyes peeled for tips on how to deal with stress on our blog and social media channels!

Follow Your Heart: How to Spot An Imbalance In Your Heart Chakra

The Chakras are a key component of your yoga practice and each asana gives you a clue as to what your chakras are up to. If Camel Pose makes you want to scream, and Wild Thing has you uttering expletives not fit for the studio floor, you may need to do some work on your heart chakra.

The heart chakra (Anahata Chakra) is actually located just above the heart, and it works to balance the lower three chakras (navel, sacral and root) with the upper three chakras (throat, third eye and crown).This heart is traditionally seen as the balance between the world of the physical and the world of the spirit. Imbalance or blockage of the heart chakra is more common than you might think – have you seen any of these telltale signs?

If you have a blockage in Anahata Chakra, you may experience:

  • Shyness
  • Loneliness
  • Depression/Anxiety
  • Finding it hard to forgive
  • Finding it hard to feel empathy

On the other hand, if your heart chakra is overactive, you may notice:

  • dependence on others for fulfilment
  • jealousy
  • high expectations of others
  • harsh judgement of other people
  • needing acceptance of others

And let’s not forget the physical symptoms! A lowered immune system (colds, flus, infections), heart and lung issues (heart palpitations common), poor circulation, high/low blood pressure, and respiratory and breathing difficulties are all symptoms of anahata chakra imbalance.

Eek! I have a blocked/overactive heart chakra! What now?

Sounds serious, but you don’t need to get to the GP for this one. The key to balancing out your chakras lies in food and exercise.

Go green

Green foods instil balance in the heart chakra, so chow down on dark green leafy veggies – think spinach, kale, broccoli, bok choi, seaweed (I’m not joking)… The list goes on! If you’re finding you just can’t face a mountain of the green stuff, whack it in a smoothie and get all the good stuff with none of the fuss. Toss in some green fruit and you’re good to go. Bonus points for eating the skin for extra fibre and adding a superfood suplement (spirulina, chlorella, wheat grass, barley grass, matcha powder, green tea or maca powder).

Herbal remedies

Herbs have amazing healing and medicinal properties – you only have to look at their traditional use in China and India to know that they have incredible health benefits. If you fancy trying your hand at horticulture but the limits of London flat sizes has stopped you, try growing herbs indoors – even if you kill them within the week at least you’ll have a handful or two of lovely fresh herbs! Herbs for the heart include coriander, mint, oregano, parsley, sage, tarragon, rosemary, thyme and chives. If you really don’t have the green thumb for growing your own herbs, invest in some tasty herbal tisanes. A mint tea in the morning instead of the double-espresso-with-a-shot-of-vanilla-and-chocolate-powder is a refreshingly calming alternative.

Sophie Higgins is our in-house nutritional expert. For a consultation on how to open your heart chakra using your diet, email us on info@morefit.co.uk.

3 Key Habits That Will Instantly Boost Your Happiness

It’s the UN’s International Day of Happiness on March 20th and here at MoreFit we are focussed on making sure you are living your happiest, healthiest lifestyle. It’s a great time for us to make time for the things that are important to us – and most importantly, to take a good look at our own happiness and be grateful for it.

These three tips will boost anyone’s happiness, but we know that living a happy life can be easier said than done at times. Living in a modern metropolis like London can be crazy fun, but the busy city life takes its toll. If you’re feeling low, these habits will turn your world upside down (in a really good way).

Exercise

Yes, it’s probably the last thing you feel like doing right now. But once you get moving, your body and mind will thank you for waking up the endorphins you need to feel good. Not to mention that massive boost in self-esteem, personal power and social interaction you’ll get just from turning up! Book a yoga class to get that community support or grab a personal trainer if you’re feeling nervous about the group setting. It’s been proven time and time again that physical fitness affects mental health, so grab your gear and let’s go!

Music

Check your playlists – if you’re listening to Adele on a loop in the mornings, you’re definitely not going to start the day with a spring in your step. While there may be some guilty pleasure in wallowing to songs about doomed lovers, listening to sad songs when you feel down can actually increase your chances of feeling anxious, depressed or obsessive over particular events. Spend some time cultivating a playlist that will boost your mood and inspire you – if you’re stuck for ideas, start here.

Food

You know the saying – you are what you eat. And chowing down on cheesy chips for the third time this week will not have you skipping down the pavement singing joy to the world (unless you’re actually on the way to the chip shop again). Fast food is a great short term fix when you’re down, because making the effort to cook is nigh on impossible when the lethargy has set in. Start simple – fill up your fruit bowl, and promise yourself that whatever you eat, you’ll always have a piece of fruit first. Maybe add in a glass of water too. This tiny changes will snowball over time and leave you feeling far happier and less inclined to eat rubbish.

This little nudges can help you to pull yourself out of a low point, but if you’re feeling down for longer than two weeks, tell someone. Depression can affect anyone – it’s not your fault, and you deserve to be happy. Here at MoreFit, we are committed to making sure that your #internationaldayofhappiness is as joyful as it can be. See the links below for help and advice.

Talk to the Samaritans about anything at all here.

Not sure what depression is? Read more here.

Look after yourself with these tips from Mind UK.