According to the US CDC, 80,000 people died from plain old normal flu last winter!
That’s a LOT.
And even if you don’t die from it, being struck down from the flu can cost you weeks of productivity.
In yesterday’s email, I mentioned that there were Active and Passive methods of discharging immune-compromising stress.I could write an entire book on this topic but I’m just going to share a couple of my favorites over the next couple of emails.
The #1 way to Actively discharge stress?
Not everyone wants to hear this, but it’s Exercise.
Both movement-based exercise, which I’ve talked about before, and straight up exercise.
I learned some really neat things when I interviewed JJ Virgin on the topic of Stress, but one thing in particular she created that I’ve been using is called a “Burst Workout”.
Burst Training is HIIT, or High Intensity Interval Training but with a twist:
It doesn’t make you feel like dying.
HIIT training over time can be hard on your nervous system and you won’t feel like doing it. Which then makes you feel guilty.
Burst Training is “the low hanging fruit” of HIIT – you just get in there, get it done, and its over quick.
When you’re finished, your stress hormones are measurably lowered, your metabolism is boosted and it releases Growth Hormone in your body, a potent anti-stress hormone.
I don’t do it all the time, but if I’ve had a very stressful day, I work in some Burst Training.
If you’re wondering about long, steady cardio:
It’s actually been proven to increase cortisol levels! It’s a major stressor to your body that has also been proven to make you lose muscle, store fat, and make you moody and hungry.
Pick Anything That Gets Your Heart Pumping. I use jump rope for the neurological benefits, but it could be dancing, running up and down the stairs, swimming hard in the pool, burpees, jumping jacks, bodyweight squats, jumping as high as you can, etc. Go At Your Own Pace. If just walking up and down the stairs is hard, do that. If you can do hill sprints, that’s great too. Burst, Then Recover. Do your chosen activity for 30-60 seconds as hard as you can. Then actively recover for twice as long. This means if you were sprinting, then you walk briskly during your recovery period. Four Bursts & Done. Yep, that’s it. 4 bursts of 30-60 seconds, 4 sets of active recovery that are twice as long and you’re done. That’s it!
No doubt this is work, and hard work at that. But over time, this makes you incredibly resilient to stress and greatly upregulates your immune system.
I’ll share some of my favorite Passive methods for discharging stress in the next email; after all, it’s pretty nice to just sit on your couch and feel it drain out of your body without you having to do anything ;-)
P.S.-I interviewed JJ on the topic of stress for my Beat Your Burnout Summit. It is over, but you can watch the top 5 videos from it for free