HOW STRESS CAN LEAD TO INJURY
AND HOW YOU CAN STOP IT
While it’s pretty intuitive that physical stressors can cause physical injuries, you might not know that mental and emotional stress can also lead to musculoskeletal injuries that require physical therapy. That’s right — a lack of sleep, a busy workweek, and other stressful life events can make you more prone to injury. Why is this, and how can you prevent the stresses of everyday life from causing you bodily harm? When you experience stress, your body does a few things that naturally put you at an increased risk of injury. First, stress causes your nerves to function inefficiently. Second, stressful situations lead to higher levels of cortisol in the body, a hormone that inhibits muscle repair and immune system function. If you’re always dealing with stressful situations, then you’re constantly leaving your body open to physical injury. You can prevent injuries with all sorts of physical means, but if you fail to address your mental and emotional health, you’ll still be at a heightened risk. While you might not be able to prevent every stressful situation from ever happening, you can control how you react when one does occur.
A few simple things you can do to prevent mental stress are to get enough sleep, maintain a healthy diet, and drink plenty of water. If any of these basic stress inhibitors are absent from your daily routine, focus on incorporating them in to alleviate some of your stress. That said, practicing simple breathing exercises or another form of meditation can also be helpful, especially if you’re looking for a physical way to mentally unwind after a stressful day. While learning about how much stress hurts you can be even more stressful, you can find some peace knowing that with a few simple changes to your routine, you can prevent your stress from causing physical injury.
TAKE A BREAK
Who says a loaded potato has to clog your arteries? In this healthy version that serves four, a sweet potato base is topped with fiber-rich bean salsa.
4 medium sweet potatoes
• • • • •
1 tsp cumin
1 15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 tsp coriander
3/4 tsp salt
2 medium tomatoes, diced
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1. With a fork, prick each sweet potato a few times. Microwave the potatoes on high 12–15 minutes, or until cooked through. 2. In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the beans, tomatoes, olive oil, cumin, coriander, and salt. When the potatoes are done, microwave the mixture on high for 2–3 minutes. 3. Cool potatoes slightly, then cut each potato open lengthwise. Pull the halves apart to create space to spoon the warm bean salsa inside. 4. Add a scoop of sour cream to each potato, garnish with cilantro, and serve!
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Inspired by EatingWell.com
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