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  • Writer's pictureLexie Haren

Hormetic Stress - The "Sweet Spot" of Stress

Updated: Jul 11, 2023

If you are tapped into the modern health/wellness realm at all, it's likely you've heard of trends such as cold plunging, sauna use, intermittent fasting, altitude training, etc. What's all the rave about these habits & what can we gain by exposing ourselves to them in them in proper doses?

At first glance, you may think "why would I ever plunge into a freezing cold pool while its 32 degrees out & how is that possibly good for my health?" Enter in the concept of HORMETIC STRESS. Hormetic stress is the ideal amount of exposure to stress that is JUST enough to elicit long-term benefits. We know too much chronic stress can be "bad" & on the other end of the spectrum, no stress at all can be "bad". For if we never expose ourselves to stress, we never gain strength or resiliency.

Lets look at exercise as an example. Exercise can create an environment for potentially harmful substances like reactive oxygen and nitrogen species, free radicals, acids & more to be released in the body (1). Heck, even our muscles get tiny tears in them when we exercise. This obviously doesn't sound good or healthy, considering these specific compounds (in excess) can even lead to cancer, disease & more.

But exercise is good for us, I thought?!

hormetic stress: the ideal amount of stress

HORMETIC STRESS. A little bit (or moderate bit) of stress that may in turn, lead to more beneficial, long term effects.

Along with the "risks" of engaging in stressors like exercise, heat stress, etc., there are many beneficial long term effects such as; better anti-inflammatory responses, enhanced DNA repair, improved breakdown of damaged proteins & other molecules, & more (1)! Our muscles get little "rips" or tears in them during exercise but, with proper recovery & diet, the muscles will grow back stronger than they were before . . . becoming more resilient.

See, the goal ISN'T: to eliminate all stress & toxins & so on in our lives to achieve "optimal health".

The goal IS: to create a resilient body that also has a strong mineral foundation & is capable of handling the stressors of life thrown it's way.

the goal isn't to eliminate all stress, the goal is to create resiliency

I'd love to know in the comments, what are your favorite ways to expose your body to stressors that provide long-term benefits?

Cheers to resiliency!


Works Cited:

1.Rattan SI. Hormesis in aging. Ageing Res Rev. 2008 Jan;7(1):63-78.

doi: 10.1016/j.arr.2007.03.002. Epub 2007 Aug 31. PMID: 17964227.

**None of this is medical advice. None of the information in this post should be used to diagnose, treat or cure any medical conditions. Consult your physician with any medical concerns you may have. This is simply from my own experience & research.**

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