Allostatic (say it with me – Al – Oh -Stat-Ick) Load – the wear and tear on the body which grows greater as we become exposed to repeated or chronic stress.

Allostasis is the the process by which the body responds to stressors in order to regain homeostasis. When we reach allostatic overload, allostasis begins to go awry sending the body signals to remove or lessen the amount of stress to regain balance.   This is when injury, fatigue, disease and illness begin to set in. Ok – enough with all the sciency stuff. Does your brain hurt yet?

Let’s think of allostatic load like a bucket.  The more “things” you put into the bucket the fuller it becomes until it eventually overflows and things start to spill out the side. As you are reaching that spill point, your brain begins to limit strength/movement potential.

Some surprising stressors? Inefficient or under developed visual and motor skills, poor balance, inefficient movement patterns, wrong food choices and even slightly inefficient breathing can significantly add to that stress bucket!

Ever have unexplainable pain, headaches, nausea, etc?  Thats your body trying to regain allostasis by stopping you in your tracks to “chill out.” As the bucket fills, so can inflammation in the GI tract, which is where the absorption of all our nutrients occurs. Serotonin, the ‘feel good’ chemical in our brain is made in the gut. If our gut is malfunctioning due to inflammation, then our ability to produce serotonin may also be compromised. Ignore these and more insidious ailments occur like depression, anxiety, IBS, fibromyalgia, or even contribution to the growth of diseases and cancers.

Our brains communicate with multiple systems as it constantly manages our survival. Vision alone provides our brain with 150 million neural signals to process every second! So if the signals from multiple systems are poor from these stressors, it will cause inadequate information/input. The brain will then limit our output or our overall performance based on the input- bucket filling up. This can include: decreased range of motion, increased pain, decreased speed, decreased strength, etc. because the brain does not feel “safe” to perform the task at optimal levels.  

So what are some things you can do to lessen these stressors (because God knows car payments won’t be going away anytime soon)?  

A balanced lifestyle and caring for the body.

Below are three tips you can incorporate everyday to lessen allostatic load, decrease your stress bucket and help you perform better:

  1. BREATHING – DIAPHRAGMATIC

The average person takes anywhere from 15,000 to 25,000 breaths per day. That’s a lot of breathing! Try this diaphragmatic breathing drill, begin breathing more efficiently and circulate a more well-balanced oxygen to CO2 ratio throughout your blood.

  1. VISION – THE PENCIL PUSH-UP

Your brain receives 150 million neural signals/second from your eyes. If your visual system is even slightly impaired, it may comprise your performance. We recommend starting with basic eye strengthening drills like the pencil push-up.

  1. MOVEMENT – BEAR CRAWLS

Quality movement can make a big difference. There are so many options to choose from. Try one of my favorite movements, the bear crawl.