Taichi tegen Stress
TaiChi training offers an effective means of controlling the heart rate in combat stress situations.
A study by Martens, 1977, on combat stress situations shows there is a loss of fine motor skills at 115 beats per minute (BPM).
Loss of complex motor skills like hand-eye coordination, timing and tracking occurs at 145 BPM.
During TaiChi training, the heart rate and blood pressure slow down; the body becomes relaxed.
Once this is mastered, one can reproduce this phenomenon in a survival stress environment.
One then had more or better options to deal with the problem(s) at hand.
Stress is competing demands, overabundant choices, too much to do in too little time.
Chronic stress is bad because it makes the body focus on short-term emergencies, at the expense of long-term regeneration.
Chronic stress undermines the body's ability to fix itself.
Stanford Professor Robert Sapolsky received a MaCarthur Award for his research on stress, and codified much of the work in Why Zebras Don't get Ulcers ( 1994, W.H.Freeman and Company), a primer on stress and its consequences.
Sapolsky contrasts the appropriateness of the stress response in the case of a lion chasing a zebra across the savanna with stress in the face of "modern" stressors:
"If you are that zebra running for your life, or that lion sprinting for your meal, your body's physiological response mechanisms are superbly adapted for dealing with such short-term physical emergencies.
When we sit around and worry about stressful things, we turn on the same physiological responses--and they are potentially a disaster when provoked chronically for psychological or other reasons.
A large body of convergent evidence suggests that stress-related disease emerges, predominantly,
out of the fact that we so often activate a physiological system that has evolved for responding to acute physical emergencies,
but we turn it on for months on end, worrying about mortgages, relationships, and promotions."
The stress response is designed to get you out of immediate danger:
Your body mobilizes energy and delivers it where it's needed most.
Glucose and amino acids are released from storage in your fat cells, your liver, your muscles.
Heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing rates go up.
Blood supply is shunted from the organs (except for the heart and lungs) to the skeletal muscles.
Pain is suppressed, and the mind achieves a peculiar clarity.
Digestion shuts down, regenerative processes are put on hold, reproductive urges and capabilities dwindle, and,
for some as yet unexplained reason, the body starts actively dismantling the immune system.
Sapolsky goes on:
"During an emergency, it makes sense that your body halts long-term, expensive building projects.
If there is a tornado bearing down on the house, this isn't the day to repaint the kitchen.
Hold off until you've weathered the disaster.
Thus, during stress, digestion is inhibited--there isn't enough time to derive the energetic benefits of the slow process of digestion, so why waste energy on it?
You have better things to do than digest breakfast when you are trying to avoid being someone's lunch.
Similarly, growth is inhibited during stress, and the logic is just as clear.
You're sprinting for your life: grow antlers or extend your long bones some other day."
"That the stress response itself can become harmful makes a certain amount of sense when you examine the things that occur in reaction to stress.
They are generally shortsighted, inefficient, and penny-wise, and dollar-foolish, but they are the sorts of costly things your body has to do to respond effectively in an emergency.
If you experience every day as an emergency, you will pay the price.
If you constantly mobilize energy at the cost of energy storage, you will never store any surplus energy.
You will fatigue more rapidly, and your risk of developing a form of diabetes will even increase.
The consequences of chronically over-activating your cardiovascular system are similarly damaging:
if your blood pressure rises to 180/140 when you are sprinting away from a lion, you are being adaptive, but if it is 180/140 every time you see the mess in your teenager's bedroom, you could be heading for cardiovascular disease.
If you constantly turn off long-term building projects, nothing is ever repaired."
If you constantly turn off long-term building projects, nothing is ever repaired.
This is the bodily cost of chronic stress, life as we know it.
We make it hard for our bodies to fix themselves.
Anything we can do to dissipate stress is time and energy well spent
Tai Chi is a great way to reduce stress.
The mental focus of the mind leading the movement, thinking only of the movement, the slow, flowing shifts of balance, the regular, deep breathing, the harmonious turning of the limbs, the circular openings and closings of the Tai Chi form make it one of the best stress reducers in the human repertoire.
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