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Understanding the Stress Response - Part 1
How the stress response impacts health and performance
My Friends! The stress response is an integral player in female athletic performance, health and longevity. Harnessing this pathway is the key to unlocking your physical potential - but before we can manage it, we must understand how it works. This is part 1 of this series where we learn the basics of the physiology of the stress response and its impact on reproductive age and menopausal women. Enjoy! -Carla
The stress response is one of the most primal and powerful Human responses to the environment and is the front-line defender of survival from a threat. The physiology of this response involves a complex interplay between the endocrine (hormonal) and nervous systems.
How the female body responds to activation of the stress response changes throughout the stages of her life. During reproductive age, the neuro-endocrine response to stress has a direct suppressive effect on the menstrual cycle. This is a highly conserved, evolutionary mechanism that protects females from procreation during times when there is famine or threats to safety. During the menopausal years, chronic stress more dramatically impacts a wide range of physiologic processes and increases the risk of developing health problems such as elevated blood sugar, high blood pressure, low bone mass, decreased cognitive function, and accelerated aging.
Today I’m presenting another excerpt from my new course to be launched on January 26th through MedFit Education Foundation, “Menopause Health and Fitness Specialist Course” where I discuss how the stress response impacts the menstrual cycle. This course will be replacing the current Menopause Fitness Specialist Course.
For more information on how these hormonal pathways are involved in the response to physical training, check out this post from June 2022 Athletic Aging Neuroendocrine Adaptation - Your "End-Run" Around the Menopause Transition
In Part 2 of this series, we will discuss the neuroendocrine pathways involved in recovery from training and stress. Stay tuned!