How much pressure is good for you?

For the players and coaches, the start of a new season means being at the top of your game from the off. However, the most important thing is not letting the stress get the better of you. But what exactly is stress, what can it do and how do the Hertha players keep their cool?

What actually is stress?

We’ve all been there: too many deadlines, too much expectation from your boss, from your partner, or from yourself, and there it is – the stress monster. It can make you irritable, aggressive, agitated and unhappy. Of course, we all know that stress isn’t a good feeling and we do everything we can to avoid it. So you might be surprised to hear that the phenomenon of stress is actually a positive thing and even gives us a short-term performance boost.

When we feel stressed, our body braces itself for a threat. Originally, this reaction occurred in the case of a wild-animal attack, for example, but nowadays it is set in motion when we are under time pressure. Stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline are released, which have the following effects on different parts of the body:

How stress affects our bodies

Cardiovascular system

More blood courses to the heart, which pumps harder and faster. At the same time, it raises our blood pressure. The blood vessels in the brain and large muscles dilate, whereas the blood flow in the hands, feet and digestive tract is restricted. 

Brain

Stress has a pretty big impact on the brain. Through the expansion of blood vessels, thecommand centre of the body receives a better oxygen supply. The senses are heightened and the body becomes more resistant to pain. 

Lungs

The small branches of the lungs, the bronchi, expand to take in more oxygen. At the sametime, our breathing becomes faster and shorter. 

Muscular system 

Circulation to the skeletal muscles increases. They receive a better oxygen and energy supply.The shoulder, neck and back muscles tense up, while reflexes get faster. 

Metabolism 

When stressed, the metabolic system converts more energy in the form of sugar (glucose) and fatty acids. Digestive activity slows down to save more energy for the muscles to use. You salivate less so your mouth feels dry. 

Body heat

Increased energy production creates heat that is released through the skin. Increased sweating protects the body from overheating. 

Sexual organs

Under stress, blood flow to the sexual organs decreases. The body releases fewer sexual hormones and so libido decreases. 

Immune system

For a short time, more white blood cells are produced under stress. This allows the immune system to react more quickly to pathogens. 

Consequences of stress

Stress improves the body’s performance and is, therefore, a positive reaction. It is absolutely necessary in everyday life, but even more so in sport because it allows us to go beyond our limits. Once the stress has passed, the brain usually starts a period of recovery and balance and shuts down the production of stress hormones. 

However, it becomes dangerous when we are under long-term pressure because the recovery phase is missing. Then the stress no longer makes you wide-awake and fighting fit, but ill instead. 

Possible consequences could include cardiovascular diseases such as high blood pressure. However, it can also cause diabetes, immune system complications, muscle tension, back pain, digestive problems and memory loss. In the worst cases, stress affects mental health and can lead to depression or burnout. 

We reveal herewho at Hertha can hold their nerve best and how you can reduce stress.

 

[Translate to English:] Die Zeit scheint zu gerinnen.

[Translate to English:]

Ob du selbst zu gestresst bist, kannst du mit Hilfe dieser Checkliste der AOK überprüfen.