In this series about stress and its effects on your health, I’ll explain how and why the results of a frenetic pace can be downright dangerous not only to your workouts but also to your health.


Can you relate to one or more of the three women below?

Janene is an accomplished and published local historian and tenured professor at a local university. She has two kids in elementary school. Her husband often travels for work. She runs with her buddies four mornings a week at 5am. She admits she could lose around 20 pounds and gets frustrated her running routine isn’t helping her weight loss.

Kim is retired. She has a fun and “mostly relaxing” life. She helps her daughter care for her 2-year-old toddler. She volunteers at a local museum two days a week. She plays golf with her friends twice a week and volunteers as the welcome coordinator for new neighbors in her community. Kim suffers from chronic low back pain.

Lisa is mom of three and mom of the year. Her friends envy how she seems to “get it all done.” She is a room parent, cares for her elderly mother, and tries to get to her local gym for the Abs and %#&sses class at 6am every Tuesday and Thursday and spins Saturdays at 7am religiously with her best friend. She has been complaining about her shoulder and elbow pain for months. Her doctor told her to take a break from tennis. She is crushed.

The shared theme is stress. These women, probably like you, are busy. But by pushing themselves, they could be putting their health on the back-burner, ignoring the signs to  s-l-o-w d-o-w-n, and creating stress. Stress could be the reason they feel anxiety and/or depression, can’t lose weight, or suffer from chronic and pesky injury, which can turn into being sidelined in a matter of breaths.


A state of mental
OR emotional strain or tension resulting from
adverse or very demanding circumstances.



Pushing ourselves excessively – emotionally and physically – can lead us to sugar dependence, over-reactivity, and becoming injury-prone, and more serious illnesses. This can result in conditions like weight gain, lack of sleep, injury, and even serious medical conditions like diabetes and heart disease.

Worst yet, from a gym owner’s perspective, we are becoming an overly injured population. Currently 10 percent of our 175 clients are injured or sidelined for a variety of reasons. And if I had to bet, I would estimate the majority of those 10 percent are greatly impacted by the stress in their life.


  • Between 60-80 percent of doctor’s visits in the US are due to stress-related conditions

  • Studies show U.S. employers spend 200-300 percent more on the indirect costs of health care in the form of absenteeism, sick days, and lower productivity than they do on actual health care payments


Those numbers are staggering.  Imagine what our healthcare system would be like if we did a better job knowing how to manage stress.

Your body does not differentiate between emotional stress of a snow day/no school, a sick grandchild, a 10-mile run, a heated tennis match, or running from a fire. It processes it all the same. Those stresses are going to happen. And those stresses may eventually impact your health, weight loss, or being injury-free, if not managed.

So don’t sweat the small stuff and breathe, my friends. Just start breathing…


  • The latest from Adrien
Adrien founded Fitness on the Run in 2004 out of her home. After spending 15 years developing her own personal definition of wellness and watching thousands struggle with theirs, in January 2019 Adrien founded Alexandria Wellness, the home for the Concierge Wellness Program and Corporate Wellness with Adrien Cotton. Over the course of 15 years, “FOR” was home to more than 1,500 clients, 25 instructors, and hundreds of inspirational success stories. Adrien is now-more-than-ever passionate about helping others view their fitness as a journey, not a quick fix. Adrien’s recipe for success herself has evolved from a rigid training plan of sweaty workout weeks to some days getting in her 10,000 steps, consciously breathing, her 7.5 hours of sleep and her beloved 5-Minute Flow. Now, Adrien believes the most important ingredient is making small changes for big results, even if it’s one new habit formed each month. Still passionate about fitness, Adrien’s clients appreciate her ability to make sessions seriously challenging without a “beat down”, a healthy mix of strength and metabolix work and ultimately helping her clients gain real strength. Adrien believes we all benefit from being curious about our bodies and our health and that change, or improvement, is always within reach despite what your “inner voice” or others may tell you. Adrien is bubbling with excitement to help Alexandrians learn the importance of a comprehensive approach to wellness, weight loss, and contentedness with yourself, and that every person has the right to feel good about themselves. Most days, you can find her helping clients with their wellness and listening to clients’ success stories and bragging about her twin 12 year old children and “fittest man in Alexandria” Bill Cotton. Adrien prides herself on her practice of mindfulness, meditation, and putting it all into perspective.

Fitness on the Run is Fitness for Life. Combining a focus on strong bodies and strong minds with a robust wellness education program and unparalleled personalized attention, we provide fitness for health, longevity and functionality.

Fitness on the Run
210 N Lee St.,
Alexandria, VA 22314

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