The word stress often stirs up a negative image in the mind. Not all stress is bad. In 1936 Hans Selye coined the term "stress" and defined it as "the nonspecific response of the body to any demand for change." Stress activates hormonal autonomic responses. Constant activation of these responses can lead to ulcers, high blood pressure, arthritis, arteriosclerosis, kidney disease, and allergic reactions,
Some stressors elicit a positive response within the body. However, it depends on how the body has been conditioned to respond to that stimulus. Some responses are passed down from our parents via the genetic pathway. Other responses are learned. An example of good stress is thirst. It can occur when your body needs to be hydrated. The natural response to thirst is to drink -hopefully water is the drink of choice. It can result in your body's need for hydration being met by you drinking water. An example of a negative stressor can be something non-physical such as bad news. The typical response to bad news is sadness or anger. Both of these responses trigger a chemical cascade within the body that leads to a blood pressure response. That response often results in a rise in blood pressure among other physiological results.
Each of us deal with stressors in our own way -many of which are often negative. They lead to negative outcomes which may include illnesses and even injury. That' why finding positive ways to handle stress may benefit you more than you can imagine.
The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) lists the following ways to handle stress:
Stress can be debilitating when not dealt with properly. If you feel overwhelmed by it talk with a health professional and get help immediately.
Predidabetes can be defined as having blood sugar levels higher than what is recommended to be healthy but low enough that your doctor does not diagnose you with Type 2 Diabetes -yet. Prediabetes is also known by other names such as "impaired fasting glucose" or "impaired glucose tolerance."
There are currently 84 million people over the age of 20 living with prediabetes in the U.S. The problem is 90% of them don't know they have it. Although not widely known by the general population, prediabetes
People with Type 2 Diabetes almost always had prediabetes before developing Type 2 Diabetes. One thing that makes it difficult for people living with prediabetes is that it often occurs with no outwardly visible symptoms.
Avoiding prediabetes may help you avoid more serious health problems, such as Type 2 Diabetes, problems with the heart, eyes, blood vessels, and kidneys.
Some people who have symptoms may notice:
RISK FACTORS FOR PREDIABETES
Hemoglobin A1c levels of 5.7-6.4% indicates a person is in a prediabetic state. Levels above 6.5% shows they have developed Tye 2 Diabetes. The goal is to maintain "healthy" hemoglobin A1c levels of 5.6% or less. This can be achieved by exercising and eating foods that promote healthy blood sugar levels. It can save you loads on medications, insurance and health care.
Prediabetes can be reversed or prevented. I'm not just saying this based on something I read. But this is based on something I live. Over 20 years ago my doctor told me I was prediabetic. My immediate response was to ask for a pill. Although a nursing student at the time I knew there were steps I could take to prevent the need for medication and years of suffering the devastating results of not taking action early. And it was that vision that led me into Health and Fitness. Within a few weeks I had my blood sugar at "healthy" levels and have managed to keep it there.
Only you have to live in your body. If you knew you could eliminate the the threat of Type 2 Diabetes in your body would you do it?
...the virus or the conditions which give it more power over your body? Keep this question in mind.
Even if you haven't been following the news you know that the focus has been on COVID-19, the virus behind this coronavirus pandemic. Underlying conditions has been a recurring theme. It seems to have faded into the background. Focus has been turned to the numbers. Underlying conditions are medical conditions or states of dis-ease in the body which cause people who have them to be even more vulnerable to the havoc that COVID-19 wreaks on their bodies. The list of underlying conditions is rather lengthy, so I'll only mention a few including:
Researchers may not yet know everything about the virus, but they do know how to fight some of the underlying conditions. It has been well documented over the years, but we humans like to take the path of least resistance. Sadly, the masses have turned to social media rumors as their source of health information. Do I blame them? Not really. It's the path of least resistance. I too started off on the path of least resistance. Already armed with the information to put myself in a better position, I initially requested to bet given a pill.
Thankfully, it didn't take long for me to change my mind. Now, decades later I am reaping the benefits of my decision. Some of those benefits include healthy blood sugar levels, low cholesterol and blood pressure within normal limits. It's not too late for most of us who still have life. The power is in your hands.
I have so much more to tell you, but I'll save it for another time. The virus is a big deal and yes, it is important. But one way you can give yourself a head start is to lower -and in some cases negate your vulnerability to underlying conditions.
So again I ask...
...Which is more dangerous -the virus or the underlying conditions?
Today's post is a little different. I don't mean to offend anyone. However, I am deeply concerned about your health. In this age of novel coronavirus people are panicking. Yes, it may be dangerous for people whose health is already compromised. Yes, the virus is spreading. Yes, more people are getting infected. No, you don't have to be one of them.
There are a few simple things you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones. Even better, doing these simple things can even protect those around you -and others who are not. Click here for these simple things. Please excuse my rant.
And remember, doing this one thing can protect you not just from novel coronavirus, but from a whole host of other infections as well. Whatever you do, be well. And do your best to stay well.
Valentine's Day is celebrated as a day of love. So much emphasis is placed on candy hearts. How much attention do you give your heart? Heart disease is the most common cause of death in the U.S. Your heart requires more than just one day a year. Show your heart some love.
Show your heart some love. Take charge of your heart health so you can have a Happy Valentine's Day!
The pelvic floor is a group of muscles located at the lower part of the pelvis. Together they form a floor-like structure and provide support for internal organs. Some pelvic muscles also aid in elimination of waste from the bladder and colon. A large majority of Americans enter adulthood with weak pelvic floors. However, many don’t notice the symptoms until later in life. An even bigger problem is that they are not aware of what is causing them and often go undiagnosed or seek unrelated treatments to address the symptoms rather than the cause.
Pregnancy can increase pelvic floor stress with the increasing weight of a growing fetus. Add to that an increased blood volume, highly active digestive tract which in most cases processes more food to nourish both mother and baby. Unfortunately, women are not taught to strengthen their pelvic muscles. As a result, the increased pressure of childbirth on the pelvic floor can result in problems such as bladder control issues and low back problems. Many women experience challenges in holding their urine even when they have only small quantities. Kegels are a good start, But building a strong pelvic floor can be like putting a second lock on the door. Who doesn't want to maintain control of their bladder?
Pelvic floor weakness occurs in males as well. They also can experience the bladder control issues associated with a weak pelvic floor. Another common occurrence is the back injury that occurs when picking up objects -regardless of its weight. A study by Bush et al found that low back pain affects up to 70-80% of the population at least once during their lifetime.
The "big belly" appearance of a distended abdomen can also add to the strain of a weak pelvic floor. Increased stress from the weight of the belly puts additional strain on the lower back. A strong pelvic floor can help to relieve the added pressure. Although the pelvic floor is not visible like the ever so popular rectus abdomens commonly known as the "six pack" muscle, it holds far more importance than it gets credit for.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction may include:
Lifting heavy weight increases the pressure on the pelvic floor. However, a strong pelvic floor can provide proper support for lifting heavy weights. An exercise program that includes strengthening the pelvic floor may help to significantly decrease low back pain. It may also help to improve bladder control thereby minimizing leakage. At Specialty Fitness we help our clients to strengthen their pelvic floor which also leads to improved balance and posture. Contact us at (914) 665-2084 to learn more.
1. Bush HM, Kuperstein J, Guo J, Ballert KN, Crofford LJ. The association of Chronic Back Pain and Stress Urinary Incontinnence: A Cross-Sectional Study. J Womens Health Phys Therap. 2013;37 (1):11-18.
2. https://my.clevelandclinic.org › health › diseases › 14459-pelvic-floor-dysfunction
You may be wondering what fitness has to do with building wealth. Believe it or not, it has everything to do with it. More importantly, it has everything to do with keeping the wealth you may have already built. Your fitness affects your health in many ways. I've used it to help me prevent Type 2 Diabetes, maintain healthy cholesterol levels, lower my blood pressure, improve lung function, and get my heart stronger. Not bad for someone who grew up being a sickly child.
Medical expenses are the number one cause of bankruptcy in the U.S. Let's face it -healthcare is not cheap. How many of us neglect our health during working years chasing that check?
Your health is your wealth is not just a saying. Think about how many Americans were doing well financially -or even okay -only to be stricken by the sudden onset of some illness. Not only are many forced to take time off work to deal with their illnesses, but a significantly large number of them never return to work as a result. Their time, energy and money are quickly consumed by trips to different doctors, treatments and medications. Before they know it their savings have dwindled down to nothing -or close to it.
How much will you need to set aside for future medical expenses?
You may have amassed a sizable nest egg. But what will your health be like when you get older? Think about how many people spend their retirement in sickness without enjoying the benefits of good health. Getting in shape when your health is good can cost you much less time, pain and money than trying to buy your health when you are older. In case you didn't know, children's bodies heal faster than older bodies. Exercise cannot solve all of your health issues, but it can improve and even help to prevent some.
Some of us start young. Even if you're up in age it's never too late to start exercising while you still have life. A lady I looked up to for years started her fitness journey when she was widowed in her 60s. She lost weight, built her strength, increased her endurance and has more energy. Now that she's in her 80s she is the picture of health. Looking at her is deceiving as not only does she not look her age, but younger people now try to keep up with her.
Imagine your future with good health. What would it mean to you?
You are the one who has to live in your body.
The choice is yours.
Which do you choose?
Getting started is not easy -especially if you don't like to exercise. It can be intimidating. But it's the best decision I made. I got started because my doctor told me I had to. But once I began to enjoy other benefits such as more energy, better endurance, feeling better and looking better I realized exercise was something I'd need to do as long as I live.
Do you remember your first time?
When you think of bodybuilding what comes to mind?
Getting the body of your dreams does not have to be painful and torturous. Used in a positive way, bodybuilding can benefit other areas of your life. Your social life, emotional health and nervous system, to name a few. But, to do this, you'll need the right combination of key ingredients.
Here are 5 bodybuilding tips:
High Quality Sleep
Sleeping long hours does not guarantee good health. However, the quality of your sleep affects your performance. It also affects how you feel when you wake up and throughout the day. A healthy body recovers during sleep. Muscle fibers undergo the rebuilding process, Organ systems slow down. The heart is in resting state beating slower, hopefully working smarter because you trained it well.
Eat protein, but not too much
Contrary to popular belief, more protein does not mean more muscle. High protein diets can be very taxing on your kidneys. Too much protein can overload the kidneys causing them to shut down. Kidney failure may trigger responses from other organ systems in the body. A cascade of terrifying experiences that can easily be avoided. Save yourself a trip to the Emergency Room.
Drink an appropriate amount of water
There is such a thing as too much water. Picture a flood in your mind's eye. What happens when there's too much water? It has to go somewhere. Excess water can migrate to tissue in people who retain water. In a healthy body it will usually get flushed out as urine. In other words, you may end up making multiple trips to the toilet. Some people actually consider this as additional exercise. On the same note, don't restrict your water intake too much. If you're thirsty and not diabetic, it may be your body begging for a sip. Water is an essential part of your metabolism.
I repeat. Don't dehydrate. This is a common practice in the bodybuilding world. The practice of dehydrating is popular because it's believed that less water allows for a more "shredded" appearance. In other words, muscle definition is more apparent. This is why the skin of many bodybuilders has that leathery look. You may see the people in the gym wearing plastic "sweat suits" in attempts to drop water weight. There are a few problems with this practice. First, it is unsafe. Losing excessive amounts of water in a short period of time can cause heart problems. Secondly, losing excessive amounts of water can damage the heart. Often that heart damage is irreversible. Thirdly, it also results in drastic losses of electrolytes. Water loss, electrolyte loss or the combination of the two can cause a sudden and/or severe drop in blood pressure. Yes, there have been instances of people fainting on treadmills while attempting to dehydrate.
Have a support system
Bodybuilding requires a great deal of discipline. Even the most disciplined individuals need support. Training is a serious thing. Find a coach who is knowledgeable and will help you push through difficult times without sacrificing your safety. It's not always easy to focus, even when you want that trophy so badly. Having the right people in your corner can mean the difference between winning and not placing at all. The right coaches might not always tell you what you want to hear, but they will tell you what you need to hear.
Valentine's Day is approaching. People will be giving hearts to their special someone. Chocolate hearts, candy hearts, heart shaped gifts -even pictures with hearts. But what about their hearts? Not giving them away, but taking proper care of them.
February is American Heart Month. According to the American Heart Association, "Cardiovascular disease, including heart disease and stroke, remains the leading global cause of death with more than 17.9 million deaths each year." Sadly, the heart disease death toll is expected to rise higher than 23.6 million by the year 2030.
As if the global numbers were not alarming, America already has a huge problem in this area. Let's break this down and see what this means. Each day approximately 2,300 Americans die of cardiovascular disease. That's an average of one death every 38 seconds. So if you don't already know someone who died from cardiovascular disease, it is highly likely that you will soon. Every 80 seconds one woman in America unnecessarily dies from cardiovascular disease.
The most surprising part of this equation is that you have the opportunity to give yourself a fighting chance. You can bring your heart to a healthier state thereby reducing your risk by up to 80%. In other words, you can give yourself an 80% chance of not developing cardiovascular disease. Research has found that this can be done even by making small changes to your lifestyle and the food you eat. What is one step you are taking to improve your heart health?
Using over 20 years of experience in healthcare, research and fitness, Sonya teaches her clients to use movements that aid them in improving their health. She is best known for helping them get results they can see and feel in less time.