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Yes, Virginia, there is a type of stress that is good for your body!

We usually think of stress as being a mental, emotional state that can feel overwhelming.  Recent posts have pointed to studies that prove it is our belief about this kind of stress that can make it potentially harmful to us.

Too little of some kinds of stress can be harmful as well, which means that we need certain types of stress.  Activities like walking, carrying packages or groceries, cleaning the house are all physical stresses.  Our bodies – muscles and bones – require some physical and mental stresses to be healthy and grow.

Physical stress is created when bones and muscles work against a force.  That force can be gravity, water resistance, our own body weight or artificial weight.  As gravity pulls on our bodies our muscles and bones must work to counteract that force and keep us balanced.  Stress from physical activity, whether it be day to day or a purposeful exercise program, is necessary for bone growth and maintenance.  Our bodies build bone based upon its needs.  The need for any bone is dictated by the amount of stress placed on it.  This is especially critical from birth to the age of 25 when bones are still growing.  After bone growth stops, physical stress is needed to maintain thickness and strength.  Muscles also rebuild and grow as a result of physical stress.  Specific exercise programs can build stamina or increase strength depending upon what the exerciser needs or wants to accomplish.

We never outgrow our need for movement.  Sitting studies link inertia to early death.  So create the physical stresses your bones, joints, and muscles need in order to keep you stronger and leaner no matter your age or stage in life.20071013_ES_ClimbBike_008

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