The Drug… Indignation.
Cable news is more about entertainment then information. Since the invention of 24 hour news channels, profit, not informing the populous, is the objective. What does this have to do with our health? More than we may realize.
The emotional reaction to cable news is addictive, divisive and harmful to our health. Here’s How…
Addictive: Judging those on the other side of the political spectrum is addictive. It gives us a feeling of superiority. That feeling of righteous indignation (justified anger) acts like a drug. It hooks us and keeps us coming back for more.
Divisive: Depending on the channel and the show, cable news can range from slightly to overtly biased. It’s not to say that they are lying, just giving you one side of the story. If I were to talk to you about my wife and tell you only the negative things she says without any context or mentioning the positives, you would undoubtedly have a negative view of her. This constant repetitive message that the other side is wrong, bad and to blame for the problems of the world, divides us as a society.
Unhealthy: BREAKING NEWS!!
Weather its a terrorist attack, a killer bacteria, the next big storm, or caravans of illegal immigrants invading our borders.
Cable news’ message is loud and clear. BE AFRAID!
This constant undertone of fear and indignation, floods the body with stress hormones. If chronic, this can lead to a host of health problems including…
•Stress on the heart
•Increased risk of stroke
•Weakening of the immune system, increasing susceptibility to disease
•Increased anxiety and depression
•Shortened life span
So What’s the Solution?
The next time you watch cable news, bring your attention inside your body. Notice how you feel while you watch. This may not sound like much but discovering that there is an emotional response when you watch the news is a monumental first step. If it feels pleasant, then no change is necessary. If it doesn’t, you may be ready for an alternative.
So What’s the Alternative?
Read your news instead of watching it.
There is less of an emotional response when you read the news (especially from a newspaper.) Reuter’s and the AP (Associated Press) are two objective outlets.
If you want to watch the news, BBC world news is the closest to boring ‘ol regular news that I can find on TV.
Life is stressful enough. If you can be better informed with less drama, Why not?
Unless drama is what you really want.
Work is necessary. It can be rewarding and even enjoyable. Just like everything in this world, there is both positive and negative to our job. These 4 aspects of your job are wreaking havoc on your health (both mental & physical.) The good news is…they’re all fixable!
1.Sitting at Your Desk
Human beings are meant to move throughout the day. And we’re definitely not meant to sit in chairs for 8 plus hours a day. As a result of that sitting, our risk of the following increases.
•Type 2 diabetes
•Certain types of cancer
•Chronic Joint Pain
•Get a stand up/adjustable desk
2.Frequent Travel Across Time Zones:
Most people don’t travel for work but a lot of my clients do. Aside from being away from your family, here are some other down sides to frequent travel.
•Jet Lag (which disturbs our internal clocks)
•Increase Cancer Risk
•Several days before your trip, shift your sleeping habits to the time zone of your destination
•Drink plenty of water. Dehydration makes it harder for your body to adjust to the new rhythm.
•Daylight can help reset your internal clock. Get plenty of exercise outdoors.
All jobs come with stress. Some more than others. Higher Salary is usually accompanied by more responsibility, hours and stress.
Since the crash in 2008, employees have had to shoulder more of the work load. And as a result of that, they’ve also had to shoulder….
•High blood pressure
•Type 2 diabetes
•Having Fun with Friends and Family
4.Exposure to Computer Screen
As I’m writing these words, I’m exposing myself to blue light. Fortunately, my job does not require me to spend countless hours in front of a computer. For those who do….
•Decreased melatonin production. This affects sleep quality.
•Linked to types of cancers (breast prostate)
•Increased risk for depression
•Age related macular degeneration (eyesight loss)
•Avoid blue light 2-3 hours before bed time.
•Wear blue blocking glasses or installing an app that filters the blue/green wavelength at night.
•Expose yourself to as much natural light during the day as possible. This will increase melatonin production.
Don’t let you job drive you nuts and kill you. That’s what your kids are for!!
Got back pain? Blame that chair your sitting on right now!
I have been a personal trainer for over a decade and I’ve noticed similarities in people.
•Lack of Adequate Flexibility
•Poor Core Stability
•Weak Back Muscles
•Occasional Back, Neck or Shoulder pain.
And All of These Are Interrelated. How?? …. One word.. SITTING!
Since the first grade you sat at a desk all day. Sat on the bus to and from school. Sat on the couch to watch TV. Sat at the kitchen table to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner.Then curled up in the fetal position to go to sleep.
What’s that have to do with a weak core, tight muscles, poor posture, and joint pain?EVERYTHING! When you sit in a chair with back support the core muscles turn off. Over time, the muscles that allow you to sit up straight, weaken, while the muscles in the front of the thighs, hips and torso become tight. Because you’re not strong enough to sit up straight, you adopt a slumped torso, head forward, rounded shoulder posture.
Over time, this makes certain muscles shorter/tighter and their opposing muscles longer and weaker. This tension imbalance in the muscles eventually shifts the body out of alignment. When your body is out of alignment, your body breaks down orthopedically sooner than it should from uneven wear and tear.
Have you ever been in pain and you didn’t know what you did. That situation has been building up over years of poor repetitive movement patterns. Then one benign movement was the straw that broke the camels back.
- Stand more; Sit less
- Corrective Exercise
Tips to Sit Less
- Get a step counter and get your 10,000 steps a day.
- Get a stand up desk
- Set an alert on your phone every hour reminding you to get on your feet
CORRECTIVE EXERCISES: Follow the link to my YouTube channel for exercises that can improve your posture.
For guys who weight train, the last place they want to be seen is at a yoga studio. But the truth is if you go to a meditative/restorative yoga class, it will improve your recovery from a hard workout.
The reason anabolic steroids work is they help your body recover quicker from an intense workout.
The quicker you recover, the sooner you can workout hard again – thus improving your results.
Yin yoga, mindfulness/meditation, tai chi, qui gong etc..will get you back to full strength faster. The quicker you recover the sooner you’re back in the gym.
Some other benefits of restorative classes are:
- Better sleeps(which is the best thing for recovery.)
- Reduction in the severity and duration of post workout muscle soreness.
- Improvement in flexibility which will increase your functional strength and greatly reduce your risk of injury.
- Oh yeah and it reduces body fat!
The ideal workout regime would be to strength train then do a meditative class right after. I love Prana Das Yoga in Haverford. There are evening classes available to help restore your body.
If you can’t go to a class right after, not a problem.
As long as you incorporate these classes in your weekly workout regimen you’ll look and feel better.
So practice your ohm my friend.
One word to describe my philosophy on exercise (and life in general) is Balance (Yin & Yang) Everything in the universe functions best when in balance.
Whether that’s a solar system, an ecosystem, an economy, or a human being. Too much or too little of anything are equally bad. An exercise program is no different!
Some days we have excess pent up energy that we need to expend. This can manifest as anxiety, aggravation, anger etc… On those days a vigorous workout is in order (yang). We need to get that energy out to achieve inner balance. Other days our energy is depleted. This can manifest as melancholy, lethargy , depression etc… That’s when we need to recharge our batteries with an energy building session (yin). We don’t have a surplus of energy to expend so we perform movements that will cultivate energy.
The opposing muscle groups in the body require this same balance. When muscle groups are out of balance chronic pain eventually follows. Therefore, we need to lengthen what’s tight and strengthen what’s weak. Knowing when to do which will bring us into balance.
When we’re in balance the rest of our lives subsequently fall into place. (Health, relationships, work etc…)
Does this describe your typical day?
1.Wake up groggy after a poor night’s sleep. 2.Shuffle to the kitchen rubbing your eyes, making a b-line for the coffee maker. 3. As you slowly regain consciousness from the caffeine, an anxious feeling arises while you anticipate your morning meeting. 4.Turn on the television or go online only to be bombarded with nonsense and negativity. 5.Fight with your kids to wake up, eat breakfast and get ready for school. 6.Rush out the door, get in the car, drop the kids off at school, then sit helplessly in traffic on your way to work. 7.Deal with an unappreciative boss, idiot co-workers, an increasing workload and impending deadlines. Five o’clock finally arrives and the work day’s done, BUT YOU’RE NOT! You’re frantically answering emails during the commute home. 8. By the time you pick up the kids from practice the last thing you feel like doing is cooking a healthy meal when you get home. Instead you order out or pop something in the microwave. 9. You may have a drink or two with dinner to relax after a long, stressful day. You continue checking email while your plopped on the couch “watching” your favorite show. As you’re lying in bed, you have trouble falling asleep. Maybe you take melatonin or another sleep aid to shut your mind off. The next morning you wake up groggy and do it all over again the following day.
STRESS COMES IN MANY FORMS
For many of us this is a typical day. Every number in the above paragraph is a form of stress on your system. To the body, stress is stress no matter what form it comes in. The following are all forms of stress.
How many forms are you exposed to on a daily basis?
1. Poor Sleep
3. Anxiety Over The Future
4. Violent Images on the news & negativity on Facebook
5.Fighting with your kids
6. Sitting in Traffic
7. Work Demands
8. Poor Nutrition,
9. Alcohol and Prescription Drugs
CHRONIC STRESS IS A KILLER
When our systems are bombarded with stress through out our day, every day, it puts us in constant “fight or flight” mode. This creates a hormonal imbalance which leads to…
1. Getting Sick More Often
2. Difficulty Losing Weight
3. Lack of Results in the Gym
4. Decreased Energy
5. Decreased Sex Drive
6. Rapid Aging
8. Premature Death
MEDITATION IS MEDICINE
A lifestyle that includes stress management techniques like meditation, will have a positive domino affect on your health.
1. It balances out body chemistry, shifting our system to self healing mode. This will strengthen your immune system allowing your body to fight germs so that you get sick less often.
2. Stress signals an alarm to your body that it’s under threat. One of the body’s responses to that threat is it starts to stockpile fat just in case food becomes scarce. Meditation will turn that alarm off letting your body know that the threat is gone.
3. Another benefit to meditation is that it turns on the body’s rebuild and repair system. Meditating after a hard workout will maximize the benefits of your exercise program.
4. Being in constant stress mode robs our bodies of energy making us rely on caffeine. Meditation cultivates energy so you don’t have to reach for that coffee in the middle of the day.
5. When you’re stressed out the last thing you feel like doing is having sex. Once you balance out you nervous system with meditation you’ll feel like your old self again:)
6. Chronic stress speeds up the aging process making you look and feel older than your age. Meditation Is scientifically proven to slow down the aging process.
7. A lot of people including my self succumb to anxiety. An immediate benefit to meditation is that anxiety is gone!
8. Constant stress is really hard on your body. It makes it work overtime all the time! The harder your body has to work the shorter it lasts, it’s that simple.
Stress is evolution’s way of keeping us out of danger. It helped our ancestors avoid being a saber tooth tiger’s lunch and helps us today in true emergencies. Stress is natural. It’s only a problem when it’s chronic. Modern society unfortunately is filled with chronic stress. The body is always striving to reach a balance called homeostasis and too many of us are out of balance. For most of us meditation is a great first step to help our bodies find the balance it’s looking for.
Stress is an unavoidable fact of life but it needs to be managed!
Here are 5 ways to manage your stress. Some of these techniques you may have heard before, some you may have not.
1. Diet more alkaline less acidic
It’s hard to imagine how diet can effect your stress levels buts it’s true; highly acidic diet consisting of lots of sugar, meats, coffee, breads, pasta, sodas etc. can make the body’s PH overly acidic. Eating foods that alkalize the body’s PH like broccoli, watermelon, cashews, onions, egg yolks, kale and more. Not only reduce stress but is a great weight loss tool. Below is a list of both alkaline and acidic foods.
You don’t have to be a Buddhist, monk or yogi in order to meditate. It can be way more practical than you think. “Get some head space” is a great meditation app. I prefer this app because Andy Pettibone, the narrator, is not only very chill but very normal. You won’t be rolling your eyes thinking, “this is ridiculous.” It only takes 10 minutes and best of all, It works!
3. Be Mindful
Being mindful simply means being in the moment. Continuously obsessing about the past & future causes anxiety and literally makes you older (proven statement). When you are fully present, it’s impossible to stress or worry. I highly recommend the book “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle. It’s a go-to read for me when I’m feeling overwhelmed (which is often).
A simple way to bring yourself into the present is to follow the rise and fall of your breath. As you slowly inhale through your nose, notice your belly rise and as you gently exhale notice your belly fall.
You can also count your breath. Inhale count ” 1 “exhale “2” inhale “3” and so on. When you get to 10 start over again at 1. (this works great as a sleep aid as well)
4. Be Thankful
Start your day with gratitude. Be thankful you don’t live in a third world country. Be thankful that you have food and a roof over your head. Yes, there are some people in the world who may have it a little better than you, but there are a lot more who have it worse. I try to remember this when I want to complain that my Starbucks green tea latte isn’t hot enough… Ooohh that makes me so mad!!!
5. Yin exercise
Any slow and rhythmic movements coupled with slow rhythmic breathing can be considered Yin exercises. The intensity should be mild enough that you can do it on a full stomach and not feel sick.Yin yoga, tai chi, qui gong are all forms of yin exercise. Yin exercise rebuilds and repairs the body and calms the mind. I take a yin yoga class at the Yoga Garden in Narberth. It keeps me sane! Type A moms who are always on the go will benefit immensely from these type of exercises.
Life’s tough! Sometimes it can be overwhelming. But there are techniques, like the five above, that can slow things down and make life more manageable. These techniques take practice but the payoff is priceless!
Here are a short list of benefits that can be experienced from these techniques:
Gain Clarity and Peace of Mind
Reducing Anxiety Attacks
Chronic Pain Relief
Improved Immune System
I come across a lot of young moms who experience chronic pain, usually in the low back.
When your arm is in a stable position you are less likely to experience shoulder pain when you are…
- Overhead pressing in the gym
- Lifting your child into her high chair
- Taking out the trash
- Turning your steering wheel
- Walking your unruly dog on his leash.
To put your shoulder in a stable position; rotate/twist your upper arms externally and keep your upper arm close to your body. To rotate your arms externally, start with palms down,arms by your side. Raise your arms in front of your body, then twist your arms outward so that your elbows are facing the ground. From this position you can keep your arm straight or bend it, it doesn’t matter. As long as the upper arm is rotated externally you’re good. If you tend to have shoulder pain, try using this technique and notice if your pain is reduced.
7 reasons why you should incorporate a stand up desk in your office.
- Weight Loss
- Increases Blood Flow
- Increases Energy
- Improves Posture
- Decrease Risk of Heart Disease
- Reduces Risk of Cancer
- Lowers blood pressure
- Reduces chronic pain
Below is a link to a stand up desk infomercial