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Physiology of Fear , Anxiety, Fatigue, Pain - Page 2

post #31 of 83
Hmmmmmm...interesting to think about why I do what I do when I ski.

I don't enjoy the fear when I am actually doing something kinda scary on skis, but I sure enjoy the rush I get after I have done something which makes me feel like I just cheated my orthopaedic surgeon out of a few hours in the OR!

I love speed, and I love steeps, but I love it when I manage a great recovery even more!
post #32 of 83
Thread Starter 
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Pierre eh!:
Lisamarie you have just described a total masochist. Just the thought sends me to the medicine chest for the Alive. :<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Pierre, instructors sometimes ask me if may legs are hurting when I ski. My answer: "No, am I doing it wrong???"

But seriously, you maya be working pretty hard on your skis, but since its an adrenaline sport, you don't feel it!

Serenity, I've read many of your comments in the fitness forum, and it strikes me that you are in fact savy enough to cheat your orthopedic surgeon out of many hours in the OR! [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #33 of 83
Lisamarie I gotta admit to yah that I have worked on the finer points of my skiing to the point that this year, is the first year that I skied 6 days a week and still managed to gain 10 lbs. I was horrified and must watch the calories next season.
The left shoulder that I had surgery on a year ago is finally strengthend about equal to the right shoulder. I can paddle the kayak this spring and summer.
I have started to work out some on the wifes olyptical machine. Its one of them expensive Life Fitness models. For the first time in my life I do feel as though I need some sort of fitness program. :
post #34 of 83
Back to the physiology issue:

1. My teacher, Tom Crum, tells us that centering is a huge physiological antidote to fear. And I agree. The reason is that centering brings your body/mind/spirit into integration in the present moment. Fear resides in the future and past: concern about something that might happen in the future based on a story or experience in the past. There can be no fear in the present.

2. Deeply trained procedures also bring you to the present. I've talked with cops who work in violent situations. Some of them have told me that in those situations, you do a then be then c until you run out of options. Chuck Yeager, the test pilot, said the same thing in his book.

3. We are going to do a clinic this spring with an interesting gentleman who uses what he calls a physio-energetic technique. It is similar to acupuncture (without the needles) and he says it addresses bio-electromagnetic sources of stress--causes rather than symptoms. I've seen a little bit of it and so far am impressed: His sequence is
1. Hydration
2. Adjusting the body's polarization
3. Verbal (silent) affirmations (self permission to be who you are)
4. Physio-energetic technique.

I'll let you know how it goes. It might be very useful for skiing. We'll see.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ March 26, 2002 05:23 AM: Message edited 1 time, by weems ]</font>
post #35 of 83
Thread Starter 
Pierre, sounds like you need to start reading the health and fitness for skiing forum! You may want to have your doc check your thyroid, though. Sometimes in your 40s, the darn thing slows down! :

Weems, interesting stuff. One difference, though, not that its the word of god, but this particular article described anxiety as being future oriented, not fear.

The way one instructor descibed it, "You don't want to get rid of the butterflies in your stomach, just have them dance in formation".

So in other words, keep the adrenaline, lose the stress. You are so right on about the centering thing, though, which is why I always refer to that OLN segment I saw you in. That's why, aside from the book Inner Skiing, that everybody always recommends, I really love Denise McCluggages Centered Skier.

I have to admit, I never thought about the fear/anxiety differentiation until I read this article. But it got me thinking back to times that I felt fear as opposed to anxious. When instructors have corrected my physical manifestations of anxiety, shoulders lifted and to tight, clenched jaw, not breathing, things I should KNOW are not correct, it has usually been in situations where I am concerned about the PEOPLE traffic: Any trail on Killington, coming down at the end of the day at Whistler, a trail with many out of control boarders or skiers. My reaction: PARALIZED! I tend to go off to the side and wait for the trail to clear, which of course never happens!

But if the terrain itself is challeging, or if I'm in a white out , as long as there are not many out of control people on the trail, I will zone and keep moving, concentrating on the current task, instead of worrying about what will happen in the future.

I really want to hear about that workshop! [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #36 of 83
LM, Great reference, thanks. I am not sure that understanding these issues explicitly helps most people (although for myself I would like to think it makes a difference) and I appreciate that some might think of this as extraneous. My guess, however, is that some do so because they have implicitly found the solution to these isssues of fear vs. anxiety. That is, I suspect that many have learned to manage these issues through achievment (focus, feel, zoning?) in their skiing and that such managment is a significant part of the reward and enjoyment we get from skiing.

I suspect I could talk in person with those who find this geekish and discover a great deal of commonality in regards to skiing without ever having to dwelve into cognitive and peceptual issues or other academic, scientific, or theoretical topics. On the other hand, I can really enjoy (and perhaps even benefit from) a geekish analysis of the surrounding issues.

Personally I don't find many of the fitness issues you are fond of to be of too much personal interest. However, I am somewhat intrigued by the cognitive and perceptual issues related to skiing.
post #37 of 83
Fear requires management
Anxiety requires reassurance
Fatigue requires rest
Pain requires meditation

I have not been in any skiing "real fear" situations for quite a while but when the waves get big and the crowds thin and you are far, far from any medical center or rescue service; when you paddle into a wall of moving ocean that rears it manevolent head above the hidden reef\rocks below the anxiety must be totally put to bed and the fear turned to power\strenght or you are going to wipe out big time and regret your inner shortcomings. Not to mention taking a good slab of ocean on the head and having to battle back out to the take off point again.

The ocean is a good testing ground for F,A,F & P.

Oz [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #38 of 83
"Pain requires meditation"

And if that does not work..."medication" will certainly help!
post #39 of 83
Thread Starter 
Si, one of the great things about Epicski, is that it is so multifaceted. I'm not as much as a geer geek as most people, so I read the posts with interest, but no comment. I'd never dream of suggesting they should not be there in the first place.

AC did well by putting a fitness forum on the board. That way, people who are not interested in it do not to wade through fitness posts in general skiing or instruction. I felt that this topic was not really a fitness topic, though.

I myself am often skeptical of "research". A college professor once told me that it is close to impossible to control all the variables necessary for an unbiased experiment. As a result, anyone can "prove" whatever they want!

So I tend to rely on my own intuition. In this case, the particular article shed light on somethimg that was puzzling me for awhile. The answer to why I am much more stressed out on a catrack than on a somewhat challenging trail. In this case, the "geeky" answer was the logical one, for me at least.

Cortisol without adrenaline = STRESS!
post #40 of 83

You might want to check out Mermeer Blakeslee's Book "In the Yikes Zone: A Conversation with Fear". I haven't read it but it sounds like it's on your topic. You can find it here: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/AS...945140-9204111
post #41 of 83
Pierre eh, Lisamarie could be right about that Thyroid. Mine went south on me. I felt an over all lack of enegry and was just not feeling right,Not sick but I just didn't feel well either.I was also putting on a lot of wieght. Since I have been on thyroid Meds Things are going better I have more Energy and feel great. Hell I can even do those pesky Hop Turns in the steeps.
post #42 of 83
Thread Starter 
Tog, YIPEEE! Are you still at Mammoth? I am actually dying to meet Mermer! The combination of mystery writer/ ski instructor is really intriguing.
I will check out that book, though!
post #43 of 83

I hope you didn't think that I was suggesting you (or anyone else) shouldn't post on fitness (or any other topic that interests them). I don't believe that discussion should be limited by any one particular point of view. My goal was to encourage further postings and discussion on this topic as I find it of interest.
post #44 of 83
Thread Starter 
Not at all, Si! [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #45 of 83
Great post LM! I love this stuff!

The actual "fight or flight response" is mediated through the activation of the autonomic nervous system, which leads to increased sympathetic drive to the viscera (our internal organs). This results in increased cardiac output, core temperature, blood glucose, etc...

The stimulated secretion of adrenal corticosteroids, mentioned in the original post above, occurs a little later, but it too comprises a significant aspect of the stress response.

I'll stop here lest I set new standard for geekyness.
post #46 of 83
There's something else that's holding Lisamarie back. I'm not quite sure what it is but I now believe it has nothing to do with instruction. Something upstairs is keeping Lisamarie from pointing 'em down hill. Some kind of fear or anxiety is keeping Lisa from connecting to/trusting her edges.

Lisa. Am I right?
post #47 of 83
Thread Starter 
Oh badrat, geek away! At least I'm not the only one.
SCSA, yes, but actually, this should be less about me, and more about athletes in general.
post #48 of 83

Maybe you should have a cosmo before you go skiing?
post #49 of 83
lm: no I'm in LA,CA land for a few days.

As far as your topic, while in Mammoth we skied a few areas which were rather scary. One was Paranoid flats between the rocks. One member of our ski group had never even seen anything like this so she was very, very scared. I'd already gone through the extreme fear stage for trails like this a few years ago at Taos so I knew I could do it but it causes you to wonder and definitely increases your heart rate. Often entering these spaces is scarier than skiing them so that's were I did the most coaching on sideslipping in.
As far as skiing it, we found it worked best when I'd give a few tips and reassurance and then just go. Standing there wondering only makes it worse and the hesitation/fear of moving downhill is often what causes the problem. The tips were "Just look where you're going to make the next turn, not down to the bottom." and "Reach down the hill and plant your pole".

Looking all the way down increases your fear-if you can think just about one turn then it's not so bad.
The natural tendency is to back away from downhill and lean into the hill which decreases one's edge pressure on the downhill ski and can lead to sliding down the hill and also makes it much more difficult to turn.
post #50 of 83
Lisamarie, the studies you have read referring to fatigue will have a different perspective on precisely what is “fatigue” depending on the field from which the data is sourced. What you are referring to is presumably muscle fatigue, but this is a very different animal to what may be termed psychological fatigue. In other words a person who has exercised vigorously throughout the day will most likely, in the eyes of a fitness professional, be fatigued. The same conclusion may not be reached by somebody approaching from a psychological perspective.

Semantics maybe, but if you’re studying in this area it could be something to keep in mind when reading papers. I have nothing but personal experience with muscle fatigue, however, as somebody who’s occupation relies on fatigue management, I can confirm a strong correlation between fatigue (mental) and the symptoms you describe, with many more not mentioned.


post #51 of 83
Thread Starter 
Pete, you raise an important issue, and one I was thinking about on the way home from work today.

This info was from an article in Outside Mag., that often focuses on competitive athletics. The exercise physiologists studying fatigue, focused initially on the muscular system, as well as enrgy depletion in aerobic and anaerobic events.

But they found that this was only telling part of the story. In endurance events, the depleted energy stores will have a ngative effect on mental state.

But I see where you are going with this. {I think?? [img]smile.gif[/img]}, because it can almost be a chicken or egg question. An athlete who is suffering from mental burnout from too much competition, may begin to experience symptoms of physical fatigue.

On a lesser scale, I notice this in an all day ski workshop. By the end of the day, I may be mentally too tired to learn yet another skill. This may manifest itself as physical fatigue. But if I break away from the group and ski without thinking [too much} all of a sudden I feel energized.
post #52 of 83
Quite right, but you've now opened another can of worms with the difference between tiredness and fatigue.

This quote is similar to many you will find, it just happens to be lifted from a Pharmacist's site, "Tiredness is commonly experienced after certain activities or at the end of a long day. But fatigue is defined as generalized lack of energy not relieved by sleep. It can be "acute" and last one month or "chronic" and last more than six months."


post #53 of 83
Thread Starter 
I LOVE IT!!! Someone more analytical than me! Cool!

Alrighty, then can we say what distinguishes fatigue from tiredness, is the fact that fatigue has a psychological element to it? [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #54 of 83
Excessive analysis of a physical activity will lead to fatique more surely than will the activity itself. Think about it.

No, on second thought, DON'T.
post #55 of 83
I think that is a good way to put it, yes.

My point being, as far as I’m aware, the “fatigue” we talk about at the end of a hard day’s skiing is not considered fatigue from a medical perspective. Nevertheless it is possible that people (read academics) are using the term “fatigue” out of context and having no trouble justifying their claims from well established, albeit unrelated, facts.

Which brings us nicely back to the original thread, do the well documented symptoms of fatigue correlate with muscular fatigue? Could it be that what we experience at the end of the day is in fact muscular “tiredness”, whereas muscular “fatigue” occurs only after numerous days of intense physical activity? If so, I would have no difficulty in believing psychological changes may be associated with this “true” muscular fatigue.



PS David, we all have different ways to amuse ourselves while not participating in the sport we love, you may not agree with ours. To the best of my knowledge nobody is forcing you to read this thread. Enjoy.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ March 27, 2002 07:09 PM: Message edited 1 time, by Pete ]</font>
post #56 of 83
Pete, lighten up. I was simply agreeing with your earlier post.
post #57 of 83
David, my mistake, I read your reply quite differently. Please accept my apology (I blame the designer of the internet and shall be suing him promptly for developing a system with does not allow verbal inflection). Perhaps some cultural differences too, as I confess to not always following some threads as well as I would like.
post #58 of 83
No problem.
post #59 of 83
Good post, I'm glad it wasn't derailed at the beginning. David7 really brings up what to me is a viable point about fear and how it relates to thinking and being centered. I myself have always found that my quickest shortcut to centeredness is a healthy dose of having the crap scared out of me. It usually centers me in an instant, if not, I almost inevitably eat it.

I believe the reason for this is that when I feel that upsurge of fear my learned/natural reaction is to go dead silent inside. Some of this is due to natural survival body knowledge jumping into play. Some is due to my work and training in M.A.'s and meditation, which gives me a big appreciation for the innate power of not having a verbal thought in my head. No noise, just riveted attention to that which is concerning me. There is also a moment of me grabbing control of myself and making sure I don't freak out and short circuit this response, then I try to get out of my own way immediately. If only it were easier to get there without the large fear stimuli!!

This 'quietness' has also enabled me to keep dealing with a situation that is going from bad to worse and lessen the consequences in some situations(terrible fall in Kirkwood 4 years ago over things that could have ended my life or skiing, had I not stayed aware and quiet and actively manuevering as best I could to hit the rocks in as undamaging a manner as possible. Wasn't much I could do, as anyone who has fallen like that knows, but one intentional move let me smash on the rocky edge of a cliff on my hip instead of my back/head where the fall wanted to take me).

I have thought long and hard on that whole experience and my minds activities during it and more specifically leading up to it. I was having an arguement with myself about how to set up my line and entrance and I didn't give myself the time or space to resolve it before I, for whatever insane reason, decided to drop in. The rest is a lesson in painful memories and a rehab adventure that I'd prefer to learn only once. Funny thing was, I had contemplated stopping for the day at the end of the run before. I have come to believe that tiredness(fatigue?) at that point dulled my decision making and made me less aware of myself for the moment, as well as less appreciative of my fear and the consequences it could have. I now have a little less confusion on that!

I wonder if others of you have had similar experiences or similar mindsets when things go south and big fear raises it's ugly head to look you in the eye? Or does this make no sense at all to others? Does this sound like actively taking control or the exact opposite? My post veered off topic a bit, perhaps I should post it as a separate theme. At any rate I am living evidence that VK is right, if you feel like stopping or if you just know it's a good idea, you really should listen closely and follow your own advice. Wish me no confusion in Whistler and have a great Spring.
post #60 of 83
I've read the thread-starting article several times and can certainly back up parts of it with actual experience (anxiety increases pain sensitivity and very severe stress increases metabolism).

But what is the takeaway for skiing? I think fear should be respected. If you are scared, why be hard on yourself for it? On the other hand, do you feel your are getting scared too easily? Do you feel anxiety even on slopes you know you can handle?
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