IN YOUR DAILY DOSE: today is research from the American Heart Association demonstrating that women experience greater physical effects, especially in their heart, than men related to stress.
MAKING CHANGES: Stress reduction strategies can help reduce your physical effects and are easy to learn and execute.
FACT OR FICTION: How do you define your health? Is it weight? fitness? blood levels? What do you think?
In The News
Researchers from the American Heart Association have found women exhibit greater problems with arterial constriction when they are stressed than do men. This raises the risk of heart related disease, heart attack and death. Most people with heart disease also experience a constriction of heart arteries during stress, called ischemia. During these events a person often suffers from angina or chest pain that may be alleviated by nitroglycerin, a medication used to relax the arteries.
During this research, scientists evaluated the experience of stress on over 650 people using imaging techniques measuring blood supply to the heart and the fingers. Past research had demonstrated that stress-induced reduced blood supply was greater in women less than 50 than in men or women over 50. In this recent study they discovered the reduced blood supply was most influenced by mental stress and the reduced blood supply in men during stress was most related to an increase in blood pressure.
Daily Health Tip
Stress has multiple effects on your body, from blood supply reduction to an increased secretion of cortisol. This hormone increases your risk of heart disease when secreted chronically and has multiple negative effects on your gastrointestinal tract, heart, kidneys and at the cellular level.
Staying physically healthy and incorporating stress reduction techniques may help to reduce your stress level and your blood pressure.
- Get 8 hours of sleep a night. When exhausted, your brain does not function as well. You will have more problems with focus and with the ability to think through problems. In fact, when tired, your brain functions as if you have been drinking alcohol with reduced reaction time and processing speed.
- Get 20 to 30 minutes of sunshine each day. Sun is a great way for your body to manufacture vitamin D, but it also affects your brain and your mood. If you can’t get outside, use a light bulb in the house designed for people with seasonal affective disorder. All of us benefit by being in the sun!
- Exercise every day. Whether you are walking after lunch and dinner or working out for an hour at the gym, get some exercise. Your digestive system works better, your arteries will be healthier and your mood better too.
- Drink enough water to stay hydrated. Your urine should be light straw color. If it’s darker then you aren’t drinking enough and if it’s lighter you are drinking too much.
- Find what works best for your stress reduction. Some people practice yoga, others just exercise and others find that prayer helps to relieve their stress of everyday living. However you choose to manage stress, it’s important that YOU manage stress and not that the stress in your life manages you.
There are several different stress reducing activities you may have tried but the following three are our favorites as they are supported by research and they work, whether you believe they will or not. In other words, there is no placebo effect with these strategies - when you practice them consistently and correctly you WILL enjoy the benefits. And one of the nicest benefits is stress reduction.
Don’t just read these - actually DO THEM.
- Exercise - you may not want to hit the gym and sweat to the oldies, but you can go for a 30 minute walk after dinner each night. The combination of being outdoors in the sun and exercise has a calming effect on your nervous system. If being outside is out of the question, try an indoor bike, exercise ball, mini-trampoline or any other activity that raises your heart rate. You aren’t training for the Olympics, you’re just moving.
- Emotional Freedom Techniques - this is a bit like acupressure, using specific areas of your body to interrupt energy pathways. This is NOT some new age nonsense, but is based on 1,000s of years of Traditional Chinese Medicine. It helps reduce stress and anxiety and can even help improve your motivation. It’s easy to learn, can be done at home or even in public and takes just minutes. You can learn more about it here: http://eft.mercola.com/
- Yoga - that’s right - yoga. It can be a simple form that isn’t very physically taxing or you can try a Hot Yoga class done in a room heated to near 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Research demonstrates that yoga has a significant number of positive benefits to your health, well above reducing stress and anxiety. Just 12 minutes a day may reduce your potential for osteoporosis, reduce stress, depression, anxiety and improve your cardiovascular health. Simple, easy and 12 minutes a day - do you have an extra 12 minutes each day to reduce your stress?
I put away technology and rejoice in the silence. I find peace in my surroundings at home. I exercise to help me unwind and forget the stress.
I focus on the current moment instead of work issues.
Fact or Fiction?
How do you define your health? Is it weight? fitness? blood levels? What do you think?
Today, health is often defined by the absence of disease. However, healthy aging is a process that allows people to continue doing what is important to them and is achievable by every older person. The decisions you make each day in the amount of sleep you get, the food you eat, the exercise you participate in and the lifestyle choices you make have an impact on the health you experience.
Have a wonderful day!
Your Healthy Life America Team