This may sound crazy, but I was a personal trainer for 20 years and 14 of those years I could not work out because it stressed my body too much.
This may sound contradictory to everything you have heard about working out. Exercise is supposed to reduce your stress and help keep your body healthy.
Every time I tried to work out for days after my brain would be foggy, I’d be so exhausted and I developed sleep issues. Making it through my day was a struggle. I became moodier/less tolerant with those around me.
Once I’d feel good again I’d try another work out which ended up with the same results. I could never get ahead. It was a vicious cycle.
Only after I was diagnosed with adrenal fatigue (a stress related condition) did I realize there were 4 stress triggers. Physical stress is one of them.
As a police officer your body elicits this stress response frequently.
- Shift work stresses your body as it doesn’t know when to sleep and when to stay awake
- Not being able to eat when on a call, so your body is low in fuel
- Long shifts back to back without a lot of time to recover in between
- Rushing to a call even if it’s cleared before you arrive on scence
- Not knowing what you are walking into with every call
Your body is able to handle less and less stress that is placed on it over time.
You may find that you feel great when you work out after a tough call. Your energy increases, you are happier, less stressed and sleep better.
You may also find that if you push yourself near the end of a block of shifts, or after a very trying incident or tough few days in a row that the work out you were hoping would relieve stress does the opposite.
Paying attention to how you feel after your work outs is key to learning when your body needs a stress relieving work out and when it’s best to try something less physically intense to relieve your stress.
Listen to your body and you will learn the signs it tells you when it can handle a push and when it can’t.
If you are like me and find that every work out has become a struggle know that you are not alone.
There is a way to reverse the effects of your job.
Reach out and I am more than happy to guide you in the right direction.
The advice provided in this article is for informational purposes only. It is meant to augment and not replace consultation with a licensed health care provider. Consultation with a Naturopathic Doctor or other primary care provider is recommended for anyone suffering from a health problem.
About the Author
Andi Clark is a mom, wife of a Police Officer and the founder of 911 Lifestyle.
Andi suffers from a genetic stress condition that puts her body in an increased stress response state all the time, similar to what Police Officers and First Responders experience when they put on their uniform and have to mentally prepare for whatever may happen in their day.
Through years of research and studying, Andi formulated a completely different way to look at and handle burnout. One where it is possible to reverse and prevent an officer from getting to a point where they struggle to get through their days by taking a preventative approach instead of a reactive one. And one that reduces the negative effects of shift work on the body.
Through her husbands career as an officer her focus has been on preventing burnout, exhaustion and tanked immune system that she knew can result from poorly managed stress, not to mention the toll things take on family life.
As she watched his co-workers struggle with everything from sleep, exhaustion and anger leading to divorce, PTSD and even suicide it became apparent how LIFE-SAVING the foundations she was laying down for her husband actually were, because not only was he tolerating the shiftwork lifestyle, he was thriving in it.
Andi knew that the strategies her husband was using MUST become available to all Police Officers and other First Responders. She couldn’t watch others suffering when she knew there was a solution. And 911 Lifestyle was born.