Lesson Nine: Exercise and stress
In its most simplified sense, stress is what you feel when the demands on your life exceed your ability to meet those demands.
Your blood type is a critical component in the determination of your ability to meet the demands.
Exercise and Stress
Exercise is a mixed blessing when it comes to stress. A high level of physical fitness will definitely allow the nervous system to recover more rapidly from stress.
A moderate amount of physical activity on a consistent basis will also tend to reduce the overall stress response. Because of this, exercise is often described as a panacea when it comes to moderating against stress or helping to de-stress.
However, this is not always the case.
Everyone has an envelope of tolerance for exercise. Train within the envelope and exercise is a great method for managing or releasing stress. It acts as a safety valve to let off extra steam. Consistently pushing the limit of this envelope is where the most progress occurs when trying to improve performance. But what happens if you consistently push beyond this envelope, exceeding your tolerance levels and your ability to adapt? The classic manner to describe this is over-training. When you are over trained your performance declines. Does this sound familiar? It should because over training acts just like stress on your internal balance. Let's take a look at two imaginary people and their exercise routine to get a better understanding.
Many factors interact to determine your envelope of tolerance for exercise. Factors like proper nutrition, hydration, rest, prior training, level of fitness, overall levels of stress in other parts of your life, and many other factors can influence your envelope. One of the factors that will influence this envelope is blood type.
In a simplified sense, physical activity, even when it is not exhaustive, usually leads to elevated blood levels of stress hormones like catecholamines and cortisol. However, following a period of training, most people will produce less stress hormones in response to exercise. This process could be described by the term ‘conditioning’.
The key factor in exercise is to train within the envelope so exercise can act as an anti-stress
mechanism. Exercise past the envelope and you might actually be adding more stress into the equation. The key is moderation, and blood type helps set some of the limits to the envelope and can act as a guide to allow you to use exercise to improve your health.
Yoga and Stress: The blood type A safety valve
Hatha Yoga has become increasingly popular in western countries as a method for coping with stress and in my experience is an excellent form of exercise for Blood Type A, a recommendation of my father’s that traces its origins back almost four decades
Yoga has been the object of recent research in an attempt to understand the chemical basis for its effects on stress. One study was done on a group of women practicing yoga, compared with women who were reading. The most significant aspect of this study was the differences found between both groups in psychological parameters. Practicing yoga noticeably impacted mood and the ability to cope with stress. The women participating in yoga had higher scores in life satisfaction, higher scores in high spirits and were more extroverted. These same women also had lower scores in excitability, aggressiveness, emotionality and physical complaints.
Tai Chi: A multi-type martial art
Tai Chi, a type of martial art that is basically a form of moving meditation, has also been looked at for its anti-stress effects. Tai Chi clearly drops levels of salivary cortisol, positively influences levels of urinary catecholamines, drops blood pressure and improves mood after a stress-provoking event. Its effects were actually very similar to the anti-stress effects of taking a walk at 6 km/hr and were superior to just reading in dealing with stress.
An earlier study of Tai Chi had reported a similar finding: Practicing Tai Chi acted as an anti-stress form of exercise. Subjects practicing Tai Chi felt less tension, depression, anger, fatigue, mood disturbance, confusion and anxiety. They correspondingly also felt more vigorous.
Tai Chi is a great form of exercise if
you are type A, AB or B.
Physical Exercise: The blood type O stress prescription
Blood type O individuals generally respond well to intense exercise as a safety valve, such as lifting weights, running, biking, swimming, and aerobics.
These types of exercise tend to increase dopamine and decrease
adrenaline: two very good benefits for type O! But a word of caution, know your current limits.
Calculate Your Heart Rate Range
To calculate your desired heart rate
during exercise, subtract your age from 220, then use 60 percent and 80
percent of that number as your fitness range. Here's an example, based
on a 36-year-old:
|220 - 36 = 184
||184 x .6 = 110
||184 x .8 = 147
This 36-year-old would aim for a heart
rate between 110 and 147 beats per minute for a fitness workout.
There are all kinds of heart rate
monitors on the market to help you measure your progress. But they are
not the only method for determining your exercise intensity.
To make physical improvements, you need to work your body harder than
usual. This is referred to as the overload principle. As your body
becomes more conditioned, you need to increase the frequency, intensity,
or time of your workouts in order to continue improving your fitness
Frequency: How often you
exercise. For beginners, consider starting with 2-3 sessions per
Intensity: How hard you
exercise. For example, the pace you walk or run, the amount of
weight you lift, or your heart rate count.
Time: How long you perform an
activity. "Time" can also refer to the number of sets or
repetitions you perform in weight training.
RESOURCE: Determine Your Personality
Key Point: The Myers Briggs type model of
personality is based on 4 preferences.
Where, primarily, do you direct your
How do you prefer to process
How do you prefer to make decisions?
How do you prefer to organize your
here to open the Meyers-Briggs personality type assessment test.
To view the results of the personality
test by blood type, click on the links below:
Blood type A results.
Blood type B results.
Blood type AB results.
Blood type O results.
RESOURCE: Learn more about the link
between stress and blood type
Key Point: There is a lot of information on the
link between stress and your blood type.
here to read more about stress and blood type.
RESOURCE: Alternate nostril
breathing: A simple stress reduction technique
Key Point: Alternate nostril breathing can help
bring down stress and anxiety levels in a few minutes.
here to read more about Alternate nostril breathing.