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Oxidative Stress And Exercise

Posted by: Heather Hampton on Monday, November 19, 2018

Have you ever cut open an apple and let it sit on the counter for 30+ minutes?

You probably noticed that it turned brown and nobody would eat it! The process that you are witnessing is called oxidative stress, which happens from being exposed to air. Now, if you took the same apple and squeezed fresh lemon juice on the exposed flesh, it wouldn’t turn brown. Why not? Because the lemon is loaded with antioxidants that protect that apple from the oxidative breakdown.

The same process of oxidation is constantly happening in your body. Every single time you move and breathe, there is oxidative stress. When we exercise, we are exposed to an even higher rate of oxidative stress. Our environment also attributes to oxidative stress in the form of pollution, smoke, and UV rays from the sun.

So how do we protect ourselves from all this oxidative stress? And no, putting yourself in a bubble is not a good option! The reality is that we need to load ourselves up with antioxidants to slow down and reduce the unavoidable reality of oxidation within our bodies.

I want to be clear...the positive effects of regular physical activity FAR outweigh the negative effects of oxidative stress that occurs. We just need to more aware of the important role nutrition plays in our recovery and overall health. By understanding that food is the fuel that our body needs, we can focus on fueling with more antioxidants to achieve optimal wellness.

So how do we get more antioxidants in our diet? The answer is, you guessed it, MORE PLANTS! Fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds are all great sources of antioxidants. The more color and variety we have on our plates, the greater the variety of antioxidants and nutrients our bodies are absorbing.


Heather Hampton is a wife and mom to two children. She's always had a passion for helping people in the areas of health and fitness. She has a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Dietetics from University of Wisconsin - Stout & a Master’s of Science degree in Exercise Physiology from University of Minnesota - Mankato, Heather is also an ACSM certificated group exercise instructor and a prior Baby Boot Camp franchise owner.

Heather understands the importance of a whole body wellness approach. She loves educating people about the power of whole food nutrition and how simple changes can make a lasting impact. She understands that life can be busy and complicated, but living a healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to be.

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