Saturday, April 24, 2010


Stress, or the reaction of the body to sudden changes in the environment, is one of those conditions that every single human being suffers from. Even the wealthiest, smartest, most successful, most popular person cannot escape stress. As stress is so unavoidable, so innate, rather than try to rid oneself of stress, the best thing seems to be to know how to handle it. A good place to start is to identify the root cause of the stress. For example right now I am stressed out because I feel like I will be spending the rest of my life working on AP English homework. Yesterday I was stressed out because I lost my cell phone. I have been mildly stressed over the long term because of my parents' increasingly frequent arguments.

Secondly, it is important to understand that stress is not always a horrible thing, it actually has a purpose. During stress the heart rate quickens, blood pressure rises, muscles tense. All these things prepare the body for a dangerous or important situation. Stress helps the body meet challenges. For example when I know I have to take a test, my body gets into a certain mode. I become solely focused and intent on that one subject. When I have a surprise assessment, no matter how prepared I may be, my body does not get the chance to get into the this "mode" and I rarely perform as well. . However, when the body does not get intermittent breaks between the stress, the adverse effects seem to be more prevalent than the positive effects.

The muscle tensing can lead to head and backaches. Stress also causes teeth grinding, poor sleep, and an increased likelihood of resorting to illegal substance to calm nerves. Heart attacks and a weakened immune system are some more severe consequences. When I stressed out my immune system becomes completely useless. I always get sick during finals time. this year it was pneumonia, last year it was streptococcus.

One has to realize that although stress is important to success, the body can not handle chronic stress. It needs breaks of relaxation. One method of helping my body to handle stress it to break larger tasks up into little pieces. If I looked at all my homework as a whole, I think I would be too overwhelmed to do anything at all. but, when I look at what I have to do for each class individually, it does not seem quite as daunting. It also helps to prevent stressful situations that you can control. I know that writing a five page paper the night before its do makes me very stressed out, so I work on it a week before its due. Furthermore (though I hate to admit it) eating right and exercising can help the body handle stress more efficiently.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Exercise Physiology

First of all, I think it is important that the athlete understand how their body produces energy. It can be broken down into two categories: aerobic and anaerobic respiration. Aerobic requires oxygen and is usually needed for long distance/endurance activities. Anaerobic does not require oxygen and is usually required for sports that consist of short bursts of intense activity. One chemical essential to energy production is adenosine triphosphate (ATP). As ATP breaks down energy is liberated. To create more energy the products of the breakdown of ATP, adenosine diphosphate and phosphate, recombine and split again. Another way of restoring ATP is the breakdown of creatine phosphate (cp) molecules. As they spilt, the energy they release re synthesizes an ATP molecule. And yet another method for ATP replenishment is a process known as glycolysis. A sugar molecule known as glycogen breaks down to produce energy for the resynthesis of ATP. Glycolysis produces a chemical called lactic acid. Lactic acid causes the pain that an athlete experiences while exercising. A good athlete will, through training, develop a high tolerance for lactic acid. Training will also help to increase an athlete's VO2 max, or the maximum amount of oxygen a person an breathe in to use during exercise. I would also consult an athlete on their diet. It should consist of 30% fat (energy stores, can be converted to glucose), 55% carbohydrates (another source of sugars) and 15% protein (replenishes, helps form tissues in the body).

Friday, April 2, 2010

Heart Surgeries

On the 5th of April 2008 64 year old John Smith begin experiencing chest pains. He is 5'7" and about 350 pounds. He is a self proclaimed couch potato and the last time he exercised was in 2001 when he was chasing an ice cream truck. He eats fast food at nearly every meal and refuses to consume anything green. As his chest pains worsened Smith reluctantly drove to the hospital. After observing Smith's weight and lifestyle habits his cardiologist decided to run a battery of tests to check for coronary heart disease. The doctor started with an electrocardiogram to check the timing and strength of the heart's beat and electrical signals. Next came a stress test where Smith ran (or attempted to run) on a treadmill while his doctors performed various tests to see how his heart handled stressed. However the very fact that he nearly vomited after five minutes of exercise seemed proof enough that the heart was not pumping properly. Lastly, he underwent an angiocardiogram where a special dye was injected into his heart so the flow of blood through the heart could be seen easily with x-ray imaging. All tests concluded that his coronary arteries were severely constricted. The fat and cholesterol from smith's daily quadruple bacon cheeseburger settled on the walls of his coronary arteries, hardening into a substance known as plaque. Though he miraculously escaped a heart attack many of his arteries were mostly if not completely constricted. Smith's cardiologist decided that the best route to go would be a quintuple bypass. Five healthy arteries were removed from his left leg and connected from his aorta to the damaged arteries. He is doing well and has since replaced chili cheese fries with apples and twelve hour America's Next Top Model marathons with bike rides.