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General Adaptation

The optimum state the body wants is homeostasis. The body will search to find homeostasis even if that means changing itself to withstand the stressors. The general adaptation system is how the body responds to stress. 

Exercise is often called eustress or good stress as it allows the body to adapt over time to greater demands. The human movement system can then maintain homeostasis in a variety of states. For adaptation to happen stressors need to be present. There are several states the body goes through when adapting to stress.

The states are:

  • Alarm reaction: initial reaction to the stressor. During this time numerous processes in the body are activated. The body is forced to adapt to the increased demands. Oxygen, blood supply and neural recruitment boosts. Overtime through progressive overload the body adapts. With this adaptation comes soreness. Soreness can take up to 2-3 days, this is called delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS). To minimize soreness or the delayed onset of it start with low intensity and progress.
  • Resistance development: increased functional capacity to adapt. The body becomes more efficient. Muscle fibre recruitment and oxygen distribution are improved. To continue adaptation furthered stress or overload is required. This can be achieved through the use of exercise variables. Soreness eventually subsides leading to enhanced performance.
  • Exhaustion: onsets after prolonged stress or intolerable amounts of stress. Too much stress causes breakdown or injury. Different types of injuries can be stress fractures, muscle strains, joint pain or fatigue. Exhaustion can be avoided with periodization.