Are you growing or merely aging?
Mild stress helps the human mind and body to grow. Too much stress, or too little stress, causes the human mind and body to decay and age quicker. The human body NEEDS to be under mild stress almost constantly. Let me repeat that: the human body needs to be challenged, mildly, almost always. And yes, this does include the need to frequently challenge and mildly stress the mind, too.
Hormesis teaches us: stress is a paradox. Meaning: you need it but too much is bad, and too little is dangerous, too.
Hormesis is the term scientists apply to experiencing the right amount of stress. The right amount of stress encourages resilience and growth. That zone in which the body and mind is challenged, but not overly so, is healthy and even necessary. This principle obsoletes the old adage: “everything in moderation”. Instead, it suggests, “stress yourself, often, but know your limits.” Understand what is good and bad for you.
Learn to love repetitive bouts of stress, of every type…but not too much stress. If it is comfortable, then you are likely NOT GROWING. By avoiding MILDLY stressful workouts, jobs, studying/memorizing sessions, or situations of any sort, you will likely slow or retard your learning and physical growth.
People go through life oblivious to this principle of nature. Yet, this explains why and how Arnold Swarzenrggr became one of the greatest body builders in the world, why Bruce Lee’s hands and feet were amazingly quick, why anyone has achieved great excellence and achievement. This even explains how obese people can become fashion models.
Hormesis is Nature’s greatest secret that is hidden right under our nose. It’s there for the taking by anyone. Once a person is aware of and understands how to use homesis, one can make happen what, to others, appears as miracle transitions.
Let’s visit some real life scenarios…
Helicopter parents who literally do everything for their kids are the worst parents in the world. They try to remove stress from their kids by being there, even speaking for, their kids during any event that may otherwise be somewhat stressful for their kids. The result? Their kids don’t experience increasing dosages of stress as they grow and therefore their minds are not able to cope with a stressful events when those kids are adults. This explains why “snowflakes” need crying rooms on campus. Why suicide may be rising. Why social media is replete with people wanting other people to change.
The most obvious display of hormesis may be seen by studying body builders and recovering victims of heart attacks. Let’s take body builders then chat about heat attack victims.
Body builders appear in magazines and in the various media with bulging muscles. How’d they get that way? They frequently stressed their muscles by a strategy of cycles of lifting ever-increasing, slightly heavier weights. Muscles get bigger and stronger. This doesn’t happen in a few days or weeks. Those muscular bodies you see resulted from years and years…and more years…of INCREMENTALLY increasing stress to their muscles.
Another obvious application of the principle of hormesis is used in the medical profession to help open heart surgery patients to recover. Doctors firmly adivse their heart patients, after open heart surgery, to “walk as much as you can tolerate and try to increase your distance a slight amount each day.” At first, the recovering patient walks around the perimeter of the hospital bed. Then a few more steps in the hallway. Then the length of the hallway. Then, at home, walking by slightly increasing the distances walked. In a few months, brisk walking along some relatively impressive distances. In a few years, possibly even running marathons…all from gently increasing bouts of physical stress.
Why is the understanding of hormesis important to everyone?
Most of you know that, as one ages beyond 21, it is important to adopt a life-long program of weight lifting and walking. The reason goes beyond looking sexy. It is important as a strategy to prevent fractures from spills and falls. Walking helps to mildly stress the bones of the legs, hips and spine, and THE HEART MUSCLE. Lifting weights does the same.
A strategy of PLANNED, INCREMENTAL, (slight increases), stress during workouts, keeps your body strong and optimally growing.
Know your tolerable zones of stress. Too much stress, too soon, often results in setbacks. Too little stress, too often, also results in setbacks.
[Note: the above is not a recommendation for you. It is for information purposes only. Before making any changes to your lifestyle, exercise programs, diet, therapies, medications or supplements, be certain to consult with your doctor.]