How Stress Can Influence Fitness Levels

The world today is full of stressors that cause mental anguish. Many of these stressors are unique to our modern society – novel “first world problems” that nonetheless provoke a stress response that is very real, and often chronic.

Our ancestors may have been susceptible to dying from an illness that modern medicine has neutered and made benign… But they also lived much more in accordance with their circadian rhythms, suffered less Instagram-induced status anxiety, never had to grind their way through rush hour traffic, and didn’t use email!

The modern world is a fantastic place to live, but it can also be stressful. Stress can have an impact on many elements of your life and health – let’s take a look at a few below.

How Stress Can Influence Fitness Levels

Most of us would agree that at the end of the day, our health, and the health of those we love, is the most important thing in the world. So why do so many of us live in ways that are damaging to our health?

Stress can have a very negative impact on our health and physical fitness levels. Being physically fit is a crucial component of overall health, but unfortunately many of us have compromised fitness because we are chronically stressed.

How Does Stress Affect Fitness?

Does stress reduce fitness? Yes, stress can reduce fitness levels. Some of the negative effects that stress has on fitness are:

  • Increasing muscle tension
  • Increasing appetite and promoting storage of body fat
  • Increasing risk of injury
  • Reducing sleep quality and energy levels
symptoms of stress
Image by 1388843 on Pixabay: Does stress reduce fitness?

How Do Stress And Anxiety Affect Exercise?

Stress and anxiety can…

  • Make exercise less enjoyable
  • Negatively affect concentration, ability to focus, and exercise quality
  • Hinder recovery after exercise
  • Reduce sleep quality, which makes exercise more difficult
  • Make people avoid gyms and exercise classes

What Are The Physical And Emotional Symptoms of Stress?

The most common physical symptoms of stress are:

  • Headaches
  • Clenched jaw and grinding teeth
  • Muscle tension, aches, and pains
  • Nervousness and shaking
  • Upset stomach
  • Chest pain and heart palpitations
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Low energy levels
  • Frequent colds and infections
  • Loss of sexual interest
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Cold or sweaty extremities
  • Dry mouth and difficulty swallowing

The most common emotional symptoms of stress are:

  • Low or erratic mood
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Being easily agitated
  • Frustration
  • A feeling of overwhelm or panic
  • An inability to relax your mind
  • Negative internal dialog
  • Low self-esteem

What Are The Cognitive And Behavioral Symptoms Of Stress?

The most common cognitive symptoms of stress are:

  • A pessimistic outlook
  • Chronic worrying and rumination
  • Racing thoughts
  • Forgetfulness
  • Trouble focusing
  • Disorganized thinking

The most common behavioral symptoms of stress are:

  • Overeating
  • Undereating
  • Using alcohol and/or drugs
  • Procrastination
  • Avoidance behaviors
  • Engaging in compulsive coping behaviors such as masturbation, pacing, nail biting, or fidgeting

What Are The Effects Of Stress On Physical Health?

Short-term stress has physical, emotional, cognitive and behavioral symptoms. If/when stress goes away, these symptoms will usually abate. However, long-term chronic stress can lead to a variety of physical health problems, including:

  • Obesity
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Gastrointestinal diseases
  • Menstrual problems
  • Sexual dysfunction, such as impotence and premature ejaculation, or loss of desire
  • Skin problems, such as acne, eczema, and psoriasis
  • Balding and permanent hair loss
  • Long-term mental health problems

Causes Of Stress In The Modern World

Some of the main causes of stress in the modern world are:

  • Financial concerns
  • Overwork
  • Internet overuse and addiction
  • Alienation and a lack of face-face connection
  • Status anxiety
  • Sleep deprivation
  • 24-hour news coverage
  • Omnipresent advertisements and marketing
  • A lack of connection to nature
  • Exposure to artificial light that interrupts our circadian rhythm
person studying stressed out
Image by silviarita on Pixabay: What are the effects of stress on physical health?

How Can We Manage Our Stress Levels And Improve Our Fitness Levels?

Here are some ways we can manage stress levels and improve our fitness:

  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Get plenty of sleep
  • Spend lots of time with people whose company you enjoy
  • Get off social media
  • Limit how much news you consume
  • Spend time with animals
  • Read a good book
  • Go for walks in nature
  • Explore supplements that reduce stress levels and improve health

What Are The Best Supplements For Reducing Stress?

CBD oil: Research has shown that CBD oil has the effect of lowering cortisol. CBD also appears to increase sleep duration.

Melatonin: Good-quality sleep goes a long way to reducing stress levels. Research suggests that melatonin can improve sleep in several ways, including encouraging the onset of sleep and improving people’s subjective assessment of the quality of their sleep.

Delta Sleep Inducing peptide: Another promising supplement that can reduce stress by improving sleep is Delta Sleep Inducing peptide. Research indicates that Delta Sleep Inducing peptide promotes higher sleep efficiency and shorter sleep latency.

Bioactive Milk Peptides (lactium): Lactium peptide contains amino acids that can reduce cortisol levels, induce relaxation, improve sleep quality, and reduce stress.

Magnesium: Research suggests that magnesium relaxes muscles, improves sleep time and sleep efficiency, and reduces serum cortisol concentration.

Valerian: Research indicates that valerian may help reduce stress by promoting sleep and relaxation and reducing anxiety.

Featured image by Peggy_Marco on Pixabay

Health Supplement Subscription Boxes: The New Normal In Health Care

With the soaring costs of health care and the current pandemic crisis, many Americans are looking at new ways to approach health. Spending thousands on insurance (or not being able to afford insurance in the first place) has put a strain on many people, and that extra stress does more harm than good when it comes to operating at optimal health on a day-to-day basis.

The rise of more specific forms of testing to more accurately pinpoint ailments that could likely pop up in the future has led to an increased demand for health supplement subscription boxes. When people are aware of their genetic predisposition, what vitamins and nutrients they’re lacking, and what they can do to boost their health, they are empowered with more health care options than ever.

Do health supplements actually work?

The body needs certain vitamins and nutrients to thrive. Since it is symbiotic in nature, every system needs to be in proper functioning order for the others to do their respective jobs. If one part of the body begins to suffer and break down, others are sure to follow shortly after. Nowadays, though, things like poor diet, high levels of pollutants in the air, and unhealthy lifestyles contribute to the worsening of the health of Americans as a whole.

Health supplementation is a way to help avoid the breakdown of bodily processes before they happen. Taking a daily vitamin has been a popular way to get all the nutrients needed to sustain healthy living. Taking the proper supplements not only works, but can be a driver in overall health if done so methodically. This means knowing when to take supplements, how much, and for how long.

Vital RX - DNA
Image by Lion Five on Pixabay: DNA markers are now being widely used to help determine chronic illness risk factors more specifically.

Genetic and environmental factors

In the past, it was difficult to predict certain diseases if you weren’t already participating in risk factor behavior. Smokers, for example, knew they were more susceptible to heart disease and lung cancer – but that doesn’t account for the genetic aspect of disease development. Today, there are many test from infancy through to adulthood that can determine whether a person is more likely to develop a disease later on in life.

Another factor that hasn’t been utilized in the past prevention of disease is nutrient density. Holistic medicine focuses largely on nutrition and natural treatments for disease. Understanding that the food you consume is a big contributor to how your body functions is not a new idea, but it has been garnering more attention due to the rise in the healthy lifestyle movement. 

How do health supplement subscription boxes work?

Subscription boxes of all kinds are unique, often personalized shopping experiences. They tend to come with at least one questionnaire regarding personal selection and taste so that the products a customers receives are tailored to them. The same model has been used for health supplement subscription boxes.

During the initial sign-up, you will likely be asked to provide details into your health and medical history so that the company can have a better idea of what will help your ailments. Some companies have even gone the extra mile to provide consumers with the opportunity to personalize using DNA and blood type for a more effective health box.

How to use supplement subscription boxes

Some studies have found that the use of multivitamins isn’t helpful in the long run, but many health care professionals see the positive effects of specific dietary supplements in patients who suffer from chronic disease. For example, a person suffering from Lyme disease may be low in many vitamins and minerals, including vitamin D and magnesium. Therefore, supplementation of these necessary nutrients is vital in recovery.

In the case of those who do not have a chronic disease, vitamin deficiencies are still possible and even common. This is where the best supplement subscription boxes for health come into play. They are strategically designed to address specific health ailments and deficiencies so that people can regain control of their health. 

Vital RX - vitamin D sunshine
Image by Silviarita on Pixabay: Vitamin D, otherwise known as the sunshine vitamin, is a common deficiency that can lead to chronic health issues if not addressed.

How much do supplement subscription boxes cost?

The cost for a supplement subscription box will likely range widely across different brands, types, quality of ingredients used, and length and frequency of the subscription. Vital RX uses high-quality ingredients curated by a team of health care professionals to deliver the products and nutritional supplements most likely to make a change towards optimal health.

Vital RX’s available boxes vary depending on need. The immune health box has been popular because of the approaching winter months, as well as the need for stronger immune systems to battle a potential COVID-19 infection, whereas the detox box helps the body in its natural detoxification process so that if pollutants do happen to build up, they can be eliminated with ease. Each Vital RX box comes with a price tag of $595.00.

The trend is likely here to stay

Preventive medicine is making its way into traditional health care, and with it comes more demand for ways to prevent disease and chronic illness as opposed to solely seeking cures. When it comes to preventive medicine, health supplement subscription boxes could be a helpful tool to keep up with one’s health and prevent deficiency, disease, or a drop in quality of physical or mental health.

With the rise in popularity of all types of subscription boxes, it’s likely that those dedicated directly to health will continue gaining steam in the coming years. After all, it’s better to avoid getting sick than it is to be nursed back to health.

Featured image by Christopher Campbell on Unsplash

What Is Preventive Medicine?

Modern medicine has come a long way to help people treat a variety of different conditions. It wasn’t until the early 1900s that a human-made antibiotic was even discovered to help treat something as common as a bacterial infection. Since then, medications have been widely available to treat everything from a typical headache all the way through to a serious case of cancer.

For centuries, though, people have incorporated different methods of treatment, like holistic therapies or Chinese medicine, into health care. With the rise of chronic diseases, preventive medicine is now being more commonly used by medical professionals to focus on staving off future illnesses as opposed to simply treating existing ones.

The history of preventive medicine

The history of preventive medicine goes as far back as the 5th century BC, although many societies largely ignored the efforts to adapt to a preventive type of lifestyle. Through the centuries, many principles of preventive medicine were passed aside for more modern solutions. It wasn’t until the 1300s that officials started to take the movement seriously, and in 1388 a sanitary act was passed in England.

In the centuries that followed, other orders were made for quarantine-type preventions during the first plague, and the study of epidemiology was begun in the 1700s. These initial instances of preventive medicine paved the way for societies to devise methods of avoiding illness rather than just treating it.

Vital RX - community health
Image by Ryoji Iwata on Unsplash: Preventive medicine aims to treat populations as a whole to help keep citizens healthy.

Why is preventive medicine so important?

Preventive medicine is a vital contribution to an overall healthy society because many chronic illnesses are entirely preventable. Instead of waiting for an illness to take hold, the main goal of preventive care is to limit or abolish the risk of getting sick in the first place. Its importance lies in its ability to really change the way populations live and take care of their own wellbeing.

In the health care system, preventive medicine has been put into second-tier care, which can be a reverse way of looking at how to achieve a good level of health. Things like eating a healthy diet, getting enough exercise, and knowing what your genetic dispositions are for certain chronic illnesses can all be great ways to avoid developing serious and chronic disease in the future.

What does a preventive medicine doctor do?

Instead of focusing on an already developed illness, a preventive medicine doctor will play the role of avoidance specialist. This means they spend the majority of their time developing new ways to prevent injury and illness as opposed to coming up with new medications and/or treatment plans.

Preventive medicine doctors divide their specialties among communities, individuals, and specific populations to help improve the health of an area. They do this by teaching new medical staff how to prevent the spread of disease, developing health programs, and finding causes for diseases based on new research and symptoms. These medical professionals work largely in government agency settings to help with disease surveillance and preventive programs.

What is an example of preventive medicine?

Many things could be considered preventive medicine. The first and foremost preventive medicine is diet. For example: cardiovascular disease affects 18.2 million American adults. The role of diet in preventing heart disease is a big one, because dietary changes can help to lower the risk factors that lead to development of the chronic illness.

Other forms of preventive medicine include primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention. Vaccines and other forms of immunizations fall under the umbrella of primary preventive medicine, while screening tests for things such as breast and ovarian cancer will fall into the secondary category. Tertiary prevention is designed to help those with already existing chronic disease improve their quality of life by way of rehabilitation and treatment plans.

Other examples of preventive medicine include lifestyle modifications such as early detection of disease, the implementation of supplements or exercise routines, and new health legislation to help communities as a whole battle endemic-type health crises.

Vital RX - immuization
Image by the CDC on Unsplash: Vaccines are a form of primary preventive medicine.

The future of preventive medicine

As more medical professionals and associations begin to realize the benefits of preventive medicine for society and the health care system, it will garner more recognition as the first line of defense against unhealthy populations. The change in how people are cared for – and how they care for themselves – is much needed to bring the rampant numbers of chronic illness down for Americans.

With the rise of obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and mental illness, there has never been a more crucial time to adapt to a new system of health care and disease prevention. Research has shown that providing people with educational programs and access to services that could help them lead a healthier lifestyle is the first step in making preventive medicine well utilized.

The only way towards a thorough preventive care system is by the conscious collaboration between populations, the food industry, the health sector, and the environmental sector. 

Subscription boxes

Vital RX has created a line of subscription boxes that can be used as part of your preventive medicine program. Boxes are curated to deliver real results for people suffering from low immune health, obesity, low energy, toxification, and low levels of fitness. 

These boxes are not meant to replace medical treatment, and when starting a new supplement regime, you should always consult with your doctor first to see if it’s right for you and your current state of health.

Featured image by Andrew Welch on Unsplash

Why Preventive Medicines Are Taking Over Traditional Therapies

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed the state of the United States health care system into hyper-focus. The virus has made the most impact on older Americans and those suffering from preexisting health conditions, such as diabetes; however, it has also made waves throughout communities of all ages and with varying degrees of health status. This pandemic has changed the way many people, politicians included, look at the health care system.

The latest mainstream efforts in the overall health of the population include a lot of preventive medicine. Although this specific type of health care has been around for over a century, it has usually been operated as a secondary approach. In the book The Healthcare Imperative: Lowering Costs and Improving Outcomes, the authors stated that medical intervention prior to the onset of disease is the best way to prevent chronic illness, lower costs associated with treatment, and increase quality of life for all Americans.

What is preventive medicine?

Prior to advancements in the biomedical space, doctors of yesteryear attempted to prevent disease. When preventive medicine was first practiced, medical professionals devised three different ways to help lower the risk of developing disease.

They are:

  • Increased dietary intervention and hygienic practices.
  • Isolation of diseased persons.
  • The use of the increased understanding of widespread disease for prevention advantage.

This type of preventive medicine used the avoidance of health issues and disease as a starting point as opposed to the treatment that follows. During that time, cures and medications were harder to come by, and so prevention was the best way to decrease illness. The same cannot be said for health care today, because as advancements in biomedical science have been made, the focus has shifted to a treatment-based system.

Now, preventative medicine is used to not only stop the onset of chronic illness, but also to manage and slow the progression in people currently suffering from diseases that are out of their control. There are three specific forms of preventive medicine practiced today:

  • Primary: The complete avoidance of disease or illness through knowledge on best health practices and reduction of risk.
  • Secondary: This form addresses risk-based factors including genetics and medical history to help prevent the worsening of a disease or the onset of new illness.
  • Tertiary: The final form of preventive medicine puts its focus on lessening the overall health impact of a disease that is already established within a patient. It is designed to help people with illnesses live a better-quality life.
Vital RX - vegetables
Image by Sharon Pittaway on Unsplash: Studies have shown that diet can have a major impact on the development of chronic illness.

How does preventive medicine work?

Western medicine has done a great job of treating illness. According to one study, traditional types of medicine have led to the reduction of death by heart disease and stroke by 60 and 70 percent, respectively, since the 1970s. Other diseases such as HIV and cancer have also benefited from the advancement of western medicine. The way that preventive medicine works, however, is not by lowering the grave health risks associated with these types of diseases, but by avoiding their onset altogether.

There are several different types of preventive medicine. In terms of public health, physicians aim to work within communities to have a larger-scale positive effect. This is chiefly done through the use of nutrition as medicine; the spread of information on practices to avoid for optimal health (i.e. smoking, the overconsumption of alcohol etc.); and the rallying for new legislation regarding access to preventive health care measures for all.

Other ways preventive medicine works is by encouraging people to:

  • Exercise regularly.
  • Limit stress on both the body and mind.
  • Vaccinate early.
  • Utilize available screening programs.
  • Practice prophylactic and antiseptic processes.

Is preventive medicine better than western medicine?

Conventional medicine aims to reduce health risk and increase quality of life for those suffering from chronic illness. Medical advancements have focused on upgrading the ways diseases are treated. Preventive medicine, on the other hand, is not designed to overhaul the current health care system, but to lessen the widespread need for treatment.

According to some research, eating a poor diet is a leading risk factor for the development of illness, disability, and death across the globe. Western medicine has the ability to tackle illnesses that are caused by poor diet; however, preventive medicine has the power to encourage and implement healthier food choices, which in the long run could prevent diseases entirely in a large portion of the population.

Vital RX - vaccination
Image by CDC on Unsplash: Vaccinations are a type of preventive care that have been widely accepted by the majority of Americans.

What is considered preventive medicine?

There are many types of medicine that could be considered preventative. As mentioned, diet, exercise, and the avoidance of tobacco and alcohol are all natural ways to lessen the risk of developing disease. Other methods used widely today as forms of prevention include:

  • Screenings (cancer, mental illness etc.).
  • Medication and supplementation usage (e.g. aspirin for cardiovascular disease).
  • Immunizations.

Not all forms of preventive medicine are used as traditionally, though. Biohacking, for example, isn’t as widely pushed by medical professionals as a form of treatment or prevention, but it can go a long way towards the avoidance of new disease.

Biohacking is done by changing diet and lifestyle factors in small increments to improve health in the long run. There are two different forms of biohacking used in preventive medicine:

  • Nutrigenomics: This type focuses on a personalized approach to diet and nutrition.
  • DIY biology: Experts provide the knowledge needed to conduct certain ‘experiments’ on oneself to encourage health outside of a clinical setting.

Recent research has suggested that nutrigenomics can have a great impact on health, and can even slow the progression of neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Due to nutrient-dependent processes in the body, eating a diet rich in vitamins and minerals allows all organs and systems to function properly, thus limiting the progression and onset of disease.   

The bottom line

Although more research needs to be done on the economic stability and implementation of widespread preventive therapy, many studies have come to the conclusion that prevention of disease is just as important as the treatment of chronic illness after the fact – if not more so.

Having a healthier population can lead to decreased health care costs, longer lifespans and quality of life for the American population, and relief for the health care system as a whole. 

Featured image by Online Marketing on Unsplash