Tag Archives: stress

10 Way to Live Longer and Healthier

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Exercise –

Exercising is a key to staying healthy and research shows that people who exercise age more slowly. This is perhaps due to the fact that exercise has been associated with preventing telomere shortening.  Telomeres are strands of DNA at the ends of each chromosome that shorten as we age.

Don’t Smoke –

Smoking causes the skin to wrinkle and wreaks havoc on our brains, heart and lungs.  The inflammation caused by smoking is thought to speed the aging process.

Eat a Healthy Diet –

You are what you eat.  A healthy diet provides antioxidants that gobble up free radicals that speed the aging process.  It also helps maintain a healthy weight which is important in preventing a host of diseases.

Stop Snoring –

Sleep apnea, a condition is which people stop breathing during sleep because tissues in your throat collapse blocking the airway, can cause high blood pressure, memory problems, weight gain, and depression.

Take Resveratrol –

Resveratrol is a powerful antioxidant found most prevalently in the skins of grapes. It provides the health benefits associated with red wine. Just like exercise, it slows telomere shortening. It is available in supplement form.

Manage Your Stress –

Excessive stress leads to the production of hormones in the body that are detrimental to long term health. High stress levels delays healing, increases fat deposition and suppresses the immune system.

Keep Your Insulin Levels In Check –

Insulin is a hormone in the body that is secreted in response to carbohydrate consumption.  An excessive level, due to excessive carbohydrate and sugar intake, is associated with increased cellular aging.  Keep grains and sugar to a low level in your diet.

Get Out in the Sun –

Being in the sun not only improves mood, but it produces vitamin D.  Vitamin D affects up to 10% of your genes and allows them to function optimally.  Vitamin D has also been shown to reduce the rate of many types of cancer.

Get Your Fats –

Eating a diet high in healthy fats, like omega-3, is essential for heart and brain health.  Good sources include fish and nuts.  To get optimal benefit, however, most people will likely have to supplement with fish oil.

Control Your Blood Pressure –

High blood pressure increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke and a host of other diseases.  Controlling it will allow you to live longer.  It is best to control it by losing weight and exercising.

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6 Things For Your Journey To COMPLETE Health

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Being healthy is a journey.  You never arrive at ‘completely healthy.’  There are always going to be things that can be improved and worked on.  This requires a whole body approach.  This approach includes being physically active, watching your diet and supplementing it with the necessary nutrients.  I discuss that side of being healthy a lot.  Today I want to talk about the other thing you must do to be healthy – nourish the soul.  There are many things that can be done to nourish the soul, but today I’ll list a few to get you started.

Laugh

Laughter truly is the best medicine.  Laughing is an activity that everyone likes to do, but not everyone takes the time to do it.  Laughing reduces stress, improves mood and reduces circulating stress hormones that can potentially have negative effects on our health.  Take the time everyday to laugh.  It might be watching your favorite TV show or reading your favorite cartoon in the newspaper.  Whatever it is, take time to do it every single day.

Go on a Hike

This is a great way to get outside and enjoy the beautiful fall weather.  Up here in the Northeast, the foliage is out and looking spectacular.  Something about being outside on the top of a mountain is a great stress reliever and allows us to connect with nature.  It’s also great exercise!

Go Pumpkin Picking

This is a great activity, especially if you have small children.  And it’s a great time of year for it.  The pumpkins are out and need to be picked!  It’s a great way to enjoy some quality time with your family away from the house (and the TV!).

Go Apple Picking

Similarly to the above, apple picking is a wonderful outdoor activity that gets us out of the house.  Apples are ripe this time of year and most apple orchards will let you go picking for a small fee.  The best part is you get to keep the apples and eat them later.  It’s great for the soul and an apple a day keeps the doctor away.

Treat Yourself

Take yourself out for dinner (a healthy one of course!).  Buy yourself that new gadget you’ve held off on purchasing or get your nails done.  There are a million things you could do for yourself and sometimes those things just feel good.  Often times we put ourselves last and it’s helpful to move you up to the front of the line from time to time.

Meditate

Meditating, doing yoga or your variation of a spiritual pastime is a great way to reduce stress and slow down to enjoy the moment.  It allows you to just be…and nothing else.  It also allows the busy Mom or Dad to take time for themselves.  It doesn’t have to be long – just 10 minutes is sometimes enough to re-center your focus and get you through the day.

There are many more things that you can do, but the list above should help you get started.  Remember to be truly healthy you must have a healthy mind, body and spirit.

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Stress and Your Health – Don’t Ignore It

In these uncertain economic times, many of us are under more stress than we may be used to.  While stress is a necessary and sometimes unavoidable consequence in life, we must know that it can take a toll on our overall health if we’re not careful.

The human body is an amazing machine.  It is very well adapted to respond to our environment and allow us to survive and flourish in a myriad of situations.  One of the ways it adapts is through the stress response.  The stress response is critical for human survival.  That being said, chronic or undue stress can be harmful for our health.  The stress response may be activated by physical or mental anguish.  Interestingly, whether a mental stressor is real or perceived the response by the body is the same.  The body is also unable to distinguish the difference between physical and mental stress.  Both produce the same response.

The stress response begins with the activation of the fight or flight system in our bodies.  This is called the sympathetic nervous system.  This releases hormones like adrenalin and noradrenalin.  This signals the body that there is an alarm.  It raises the respiratory rate, heart rate, increases sweating, dilates the pupils and shuts down the digestive system along with anything else unnecessary for immediate survival.  The adrenal glands also secrete cortisol which allows us to have a ready supply of energy if needed.  This scenario is called acute stress.  Our bodies are designed to handle this form of stress.  When the stress becomes chronic, as it all too often does in modern society, it becomes extremely detrimental to our health.

Humans evolved to handle acute stress not chronic stress.  If you lived 20,000 years ago long term stress was not part of your life.  Acute stress was but once that scenario was over so was the body’s stress response.  For example, if you were being chased by a saber toothed tiger that scenario had two possible outcomes – 1. you got away and the stress was over or 2. the tiger got you and the stress was over.  Our bodies evolved to deal with this, not low grade chronic stress.

Chronic stress most often occurs because of a negative change in our lives, such as a down-turn in the economy, and causes the same reaction in the body as acute stress, only on a lower level.  It can lead to problems such as ulcers, trouble with digestion, insomnia, anxiety, depression, headaches, back pain, weight gain and high blood pressure.  Remember, the stress response is designed to help us deal with life-threatening situations and should only be short acting.  When situations arise that have long-term implications, chronic stress may become part of your daily life and negatively affect your health.

Your best bet to guard against the effects of chronic stress is to maintain a healthy lifestyle.  Exercise is a great stress reliever.  Getting 20-30 minutes of exercises daily not only reduces our perception of stress, but it also helps prevent the physical ailments associated with it.  A healthy diet is also essential.  It provides us with the fuel to manage our day.  I also recommend supplements to support your system.  In particular, I like supplements that are designed to support the adrenal glands.  Many companies make these but consult a practitioner trained in functional medicine to get a quality brand.

Remember, stress not only has an effect on our mental health, it also can have severe effects on our physical health.  If you feel as if stress is a significant factor in your life, don’t put off doing something about it.  Taking action steps to help yourself is often stress relieving in and of it self.  Waiting may have deleterious effects later in your life.

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