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How can stress affect your athletic performance?

stress for athletes



Stress is the reaction our brain and body has to different outside conditions and threats. When in a stressing situation, our body releases certain chemicals into our blood. Even though it is believed there are two types of stresses that occur; the negative and positive one, nothing can actually separate them between each other. It is up to you to manage your stress levels in a way it can only do good on your athletic performance. Otherwise, the effects negative stress can have on you can be really unpleasant and even dangerous when it comes to your athletic performance and health.


Stress is not always a bad thing taking in consideration the number of athletes using their moderate stress levels into bringing their best and forcing their brain to be more efficient when giving commands to their body. But, when the stress level becomes too high, then, it not only will affect negatively your athletic performance, by it will also make you feel fatigue and you may potentially end up exhausted and sick.


One of the main stress hormones, cortisol, has the ability to beat the barriers between our blood and brain and damage our cognitive processes. When this amount of stress lasts for a long time, or happens in a regular basis, then, this hormone and others as well have can leave permanent changes to our cognitive system such as memory loss, the ability to make decisions, and attention.

Stress can also affect our quality and also quantity of sleep. It also affects our muscles by increasing their tension and the risk of injuries by almost 40 percent!



Can stress work as energy?


Unfortunately, stress can work as a real energy. As an athlete, it can make you harness this energy or, in most of the cases, you get harnessed… There are many famous athletes that have shown through the years how much effect the stress level can bring when performing. Many of them, despite they were famous record-breakers, they ended up finishing their carriers due to their inability to handle their stress amount. On the other hand, there are many other athletes that hit their best performance while on high pressure.


So, seeing stress as energy, is very important due to the fact, this is the first step you need to take to then start managing it. Controlling your stress levels isn’t actually that difficult if you really make up your mind to do so. Talking to a therapist or someone you know that he/she can help you on this matter is crucial. Following certain stress-managing methods or even meditating might help you turn this energy source into your friend.



Main aspects that stress affects


–  Stress can potentially affect the part of our brain that is responsible for both, long-term and short-term memory. Also, our working-memory part that is important in cases when we deal with multiple tasks.


–  Stress can reduce our athletic performance by almost 40 percent! It will make us feel exhausted, unable to control our moves and breathing, and also, will make us lose focus.


–  Stress can impair our motor coordination because it strongly interferes with the information that is being processed in our cerebellum (the brain area responsible for these basic functions)


–  Stress increases the chances of injury by increasing our muscle tension and interferes with our immune system.


–  High level of stress makes athletes lose their motivation. In times of stress, athletes tend to exercise around 30 percent less than usual.


–  Stress can make us gain excessive weight. It has shown to increase the fat stored in our belly area. Also, it increases the risks of cardiovascular issues and obesity by almost 20 percent!


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