Marine Snail Venom Can Prevent Pain and Opioid Addiction

If you have gone to any of the summer music festivals, you may have noticed that people with altered perceptions seem to like looking at snails. It seems that snails shells, being spiral in nature, are actually symbolic of an expanding consciousness, looking inward to seek answers, while the antennae represent exploration, which may explain the river fascination. In short, the entire body of a snail is considered a sensory tool capable of experiencing reality through uncommon sensory perception. Perhaps then, it shouldn’t be too much of a stretch to consider that these creatures may actually be capable of sensory alteration, specifically, pain relief and there may be scientific proof to back it up. Read on to discover how snail venom may be an alternative to addictive opioid drugs.

Snail Venom As An Opioid Replacement
Snail venom may be the latest answer to pain. According to recent research, the venom of the small cone snail, commonly found in the Caribbean sea, may contain compounds which act on pain pathways in the body, thus providing an alternative to pain-relieving opioids.

According to psychologist Michael McIntosh, who is involved in the research, transmissions that sense pain normally travels up through the back part of the spinal chord. However, the types of sensations we feel, such as heat, cold, pain, and itch can come from other receptors. The pain pathways that opioids target are very specific. However, McIntosh and his team have discovered that snail venom can affect alternate pathways, providing for more long term relief.

McIntosh allows that opioids can be great for acute, short-term pain, but snail venom can provide long lasting relief for chronic pain, commonly caused by injury to a nerve. Says McIntosh, “What these compounds from the snail do is they not only provide relief in the short run, they seem to provide long lasting relief and they seem to do so b y actually preventing some of the pathophysiologies that occur after a nerve injury.”

boy examines snail on a leaf

Indications
McIntosh explains that each type of venom-bearing species has a unique component in their venom, designed to capture prey and work on the nervous system, and is therefore often used in the study of relieving nerve pain.

The study proved two things. First that the compound from cone snail venom can be turned into a compound that may be useful to humans, and secondly that it could be used as a specific called chemotherapy-induced neuropathic pain. McIntosh explains, “What we found, in this case, was that we could give the chemotherapy agent and our compound that we developed and prevent the nerve damage that normally occurs after chemotherapy.”

What’s Next?
Now the medical field must focus on bringing the snail venom into practical use. Says McIntosh, “The next step is to conduct additional preclinical trials with the aim of applying to the Food and Drug Administration for investigational new drug status so that human clinical trials can begin.” He adds that the venom may also prove to be useful for the relief of pain for diabetics and others suffering from chronic pain caused by injury to a nerve, surgery, lower back pain, or a car accident.
“We want to get at the root of the problem, not just mask the symptoms,” he says.

What do you think about snail venom as an alternative to opioid drugs? Let us know.

Natural Ways To Fight Incontinence

For nearly 25 million American, 75 to 80 percent of which are ladies, incontinence is an inconvenient truth. There is nothing sexy about it, there is nothing fun about it, and there is nothing cool about it, but there are some things that can be done about it. While drugs and surgeries are options, they often come with inconveniences of their own. Here are some healthy alternatives you may want to consider.

Kegel Exercises
Kegel exercises involve flexing the muscles you use to stop the urinary flow. According to Philippe Zimmern, MD, and professor of urology,”Kegels are very useful for early stages of incontinence and after a surgical repair to maintain pelvic floor tone over time.” You can get a tutorial from a physical therapist and may see an improvement after 6 to 12 weeks of regular practice.

Lose Weight
Extra belly fat puts excess pressure on the pelvic muscles. Says Zimmern, “Losing weight if you are overweight is an important step toward reducing the severity of your incontinence.”

Bladder Control
The mind can be a very powerful tool. The idea is to learn how to delay urination. To start, try to put the need to rush to the bathroom off by ten minutes, gradually building toward twenty. The goal is to eventually increase the time between goes so that you can use the restroom comfortable every four hours.

happy woman

Magnesium
Magnesium has often been linked to muscle and nerve function. In a study at Tel Aviv University at Israel involving 40 women, more than half of the participants who took magnesium hydroxide twice a day showed improvements in incontinence and did not wake up as many times during the night to use the toilet. Doctors believe magnesium reduces bladder muscle spasms, allowing the bladder to empty completely. Magnesium rich foods include potatoes, corn, and bananas, but consult your doctor before taking supplements.

Biofeedback
Biofeedback involves the monitoring of your body by electrical sensors, allowing you to get an idea of what’s happening inside you and make appropriate changes. Zimmern says, “Physical therapists use biofeedback to help patients understand what muscles they should contract during Kegel exercises, and/ or improve the performance of these muscles by providing a visual feedback to the patient during the training session.” However, he allows, “It’s very beneficial in general, but potentially a bit costly depending on insurance coverage, and requires perseverance on the part to the patient. ”

Pessary
A pessary is a ring like an instrument that is inserted into the vagina to lift and support the bladder. It can be helpful in lowering stress incontinence, associated with exercise and coughing. Zimmern explains, “Some vaginal devices have been designed to support the bladder neck, in the same way, a tampon can work. They require good local hygiene and sometimes the use of hormonal cream to avoid vaginal wall irritation.” Pessaries usually remain in place for about a week, and a may be used for an indefinite amount of time.

Acupuncture
Amber Addison, licensed acupuncture therapist recommends her treatments for incontinence patients. She believes that the imbalance can come not only from the kidneys and bladder but from other body parts, like the heart and lungs. “Most of the time it’s a combination of two or more system imbalances that causes overactive balance,” she says. While it may take some time for acupuncture to take effect, Addison assures, “I have had success with every person I have treated for incontinence.”

Are you suffering from incontinence? What do you think works best? Join the conversation and shed some light on an inconvenient truth.

Flat lay of healthy food

Lifestyle Changes For Digestive Health

Let’s face it. Eating is one of the great pleasures of life. In fact, it may be safe to say that if most of us died in front of the television with a pint of Ben and Jerry’s, we’d probably die happy. That’s why digestive problems stink. There are few enough pleasures in life; we need to make sure to completely enjoy each and every one without interference. If you are suffering from digestive problems, that means you’re not getting the full benefits of one of the life’s greatest pleasures, and that needs to be remedied. Here are a few lifestyle changes you can make to bring the fun back to your food.

Beat Stress
Butterflies in your tummy? Stress and anxiety can upset digestion and cause the stomach to become unsettled. While in some people, stress slows digestion, leading to pain, bloating and constipation, in others, stress causes metabolism to speed up, resulting in diarrhea and increased trips to the bathroom. Others completely lose their appetite. In addition, IBS and digestive conditions like stomach ulcers can become exacerbated in stressful situations.

What should you do? Try to avoid eating while you’re stressed and try to avoid getting stressed while you’re eating. Arguing over dinner is never good for digestion.

Stop Smoking
Smoking can weaken the muscles which control the lower part of the esophagus, allowing acid from the stomach to travel in the wrong direction. More commonly known as reflux, this condition can cause heartburn, and bring on or worsen inflammatory conditions and stomach ulcers. Smoking is also a big risk factor for stomach cancer.

healthy family

Eat Properly
High paced lifestyles often cause us to eat on the run, which can wreak havoc on our digestion. To avoid this:

  • Don’t eat too quickly. Concentrate on putting your fork down between bites and chewing each mouthful completely.
  • Don’t eat too much. Adjust your portions at mealtimes, or try to eat small meals frequently, rather than large ones occasionally.
  • Avoid eating a big meal before bedtime. Try to give your body at least two or three hours to digest before hitting the hay.
  • Eat on a regular basis, don’t skip meals, and get plenty to drink.

Lose Weight
Excess stomach weight puts pressure on your middle, which can cause heartburn. Weight loss may help to relieve digestive symptoms like heartburn and other stomach problems.

Binge Drinking
While drinking in moderation should not harm digestion, binge drinking can increase the production of acid in your stomach and cause digestive complaints. Binge drinking means drinking eight to more units of alcohol in a session for men, and six for women.

Are you suffering from digestive issues? Let us know what lifestyle changes you made to help you. We want to know.

Mother and child visiting doctor for medical consultation

Follow These Doctor Recommended Contact Rules

Human warmth. Is it over rated? Have you ever found yourself criticized for being “cold?’ Maybe you didn’t always hold hands with your boyfriend, didn’t like to share food, weren’t much of a hugger. Maybe you were just misread.

Although contact is often signed of human warmth, it is also one of the easiest ways to spread germs. So maybe your best friend doesn’t really have issues with affection, maybe she’s just being smart. Here is some doctor recommend rules for avoiding germs (and contact.)

What are Germs?
Germs are those little microscopic organisms that live all around us, most of which are not harmful, but some of which can cause infectious disease. Even though we have vaccines and medicines to cure these diseases, some of the germs seemed to have outsmarted the medical community. When this happens, we often have to take things into our own hands. That means avoiding these germs before they can get to us.

Germs’ favorite hangouts include dirt, countertops, water, our skin, and our intestines. Some can survive on their own, and others like to take up residence inside people or animals. The thing about germs is, when they find a good place, they generally stay a while.

How Germs Spread?
Getting a disease involves contact with a germ. From there, it gets into your body and does its thing. Even though our bodies are good at fighting infections, sometimes the germ fights harder. Here are some ways you may get exposed.

  • Touch 
    Some germs live in mucus, stool, and pus. That means that drops released when people cough sneeze or talk can carry germs. If you touch a contaminated object or surface and then touch an opening in the body, germs can transfer.
  • Eating and Drinking 
    Germs are often found in untreated water and food. Unwashed vegetables and fruits uncooked foods can all carry disease-causing germs.
  • Breathing 
    Although it is not suggested you stop doing this, germs can spread in the air. Coughing, sneezing, and talking can all release germs, which can cause illness when exhaled.
  • Animal Bites
    Animals can also spread infectious disease. Bites from animals, pets, and even insects can cause illness, even if the animal does not appear sick.

sick woman
Diseases can also be spread during pregnancy, from mother to child, by sharing needles, through sexual contact or through blood transfusion.

Healthy Habits

  • Food Safety. Wash utensils, hands and surfaces when preparing food. Wash all fruits and vegetables. Keep and cook foods at proper temperatures and keep perishable foods refrigerated.
  • Wash Hands.
  • Clean Commonly Used Surface Areas.Although soap and water are usually enough to kill germs on hands, bathrooms and kitchens should be disinfected regularly. Other household areas should be disinfected if someone in the household is ill.
  • Sneeze and Cough into your Sleeve.
  •  Don’t Share Personal Things. Sharing personal items that can’t be disinfected is always a bad idea. Toothbrushes, towels, razors should never be shared. Needles should be used once and discarded immediately after.
  •  Get Vaccinated. Vaccines should be gotten regularly in childhood. Some are also recommended for adults, and in special situations like travel and pregnancy.
  •  Avoid Touching Animals. You and your pets should avoid contact with wild animals which may cause germs. Consult a doctor if you are bitten, and make sure all pet vaccinations are updated.
  •  Stay home when sick.

What are you doing to avoid contact? Are fist pumps and handshakes soon to be a thing of the past? Let us know what you think!

Dehydrated woman with a bottle of water outdoors

Do You Know The Signs of Dehydration?

Every once in a while we all need some detoxification. Whether it be a full on week-long cleanse, or just the occasional good sweat, many of us derive satisfaction out of releasing chemicals from our bodies, bringing us back to the elemental purity our bodies were made in, relaxing and rejuvenating us. Of course, this process also involves losing water, but that’s par for the course. You just drink a little more of it to compensate, right?

While most of the time, our bodies replace water pretty easily, sometimes we can lose a little too much, and that can set our bodies off, because, as we know, our bodies do love their water. Dehydration happens when your body is not getting enough of the water it needs. Here are some ways to recognize and prevent the signs of dehydration.

Causes
We sweat; we breathe; we poop, we cry; we spit; we lose water, and that’s ok. We usually can get it right back by eating foods with water and drinking fluids. But, if you lose too much or don’t eat or drink enough, dehydration can occur. Unusual water loss can be caused by fever, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive sweating, and urinating a lot (diuretics can make you pee more often.)

You might not compensate for the loss because you don’t know you’re thirsty, you’re busy and forget to drink, or you don’t feel like drinking because you don’t feel good.

Symptoms
Dehydration symptoms usually include a dry mouth, thirst, muscle cramps, headaches, decreased urination, dark yellow urine, and cool, dry skin.

Symptoms of more severe dehydration include lack of urination or very dark yellow urine, dizziness, overly dry skin, rapid breathing, rapid heartbeat, sleepiness, confusion, irritability, sunken eyes and fainting.

Symptoms for young babies and children may be slightly different than those of adults. For example, dry diapers for three hours may be a sign, as might lack of tears when crying, sleepiness, irritability, and lack of energy, sunken cheeks and eyes, a soft spot on the top of the skull, and a dry tongue and mouth.

woman drinking water

High-Risk Groups
While anyone can be affected by dehydration, the odds are higher for some.

  • Babies and children
    Since this group is the most likely to have severe vomiting and diarrhea, they are most likely to lose water from a high fever.
  • Older Adults
    More mature adults have less water in their bodies and often are not as sensitive to thirst.
  • Sick People
    People with sore throats and colds may not feel like drinking or eating.
  • People With a Chronic Disease
    Individuals with uncontrolled diseases like type 2 diabetes can pee a lot. They may also take medicines such as water pills, which increase urination.
  • Active People
    Those who are active outdoors in humid and hot weather sometimes can’t cool down properly because their sweat fails to evaporate, leading to a higher body temperature and not enough water.

What are you doing to prevent dehydration this summer? Let us know how you’re keeping up and cooling off. We love to know!

Flat lay of botanicals and skincare cream

Protecting Yourself Against Bone Loss

Osteoporosis is a disease that weakens bones and increases the risk of fractures. The unfortunate truth is that you may not know that you have it until your bones fracture in a fall or bump. However, bone loss can be prevented with a healthy diet and the right degree of physical activity.

Exercise Your Bones
Your bones, like your muscles, can be strengthened through working out. Weight bearing exercises are especially good for keeping bones strong. Forcing the body to work against gravity prompts it to make new bone. Examples of such exercises include stair climbing, aerobics, jogging, tennis, racket sports, and running.

Strength training exercise is also a good way to prevent bone loss. The pull of muscle on the bones strengthens them as you work them, improving flexibility and reducing the chances of falling: a.k.a., the main reason for broken hips. Bone and muscle building exercises and activities include: lifting free weights, bags of groceries, young children, using ankle and wrist weights, resistance bands, weight machines, or by doing push ups, squats or other movements which involve countering your own body weight.

resveralife Protecting Yourself Against BoneLoss

Calcium and Vitamin D
Calcium deprived bodies lead to weakened bones. When your body lacks calcium, it will start to look for your bones to get what it needs, and that means loss of bone mass. Getting enough of this nutrient means eating plenty of low-fat dairy, calcium-fortified juices, and food, like soy milk, cereal and tofu, salmons and sardines with bones, and leafy green veggies.

Vitamin D is sort of like the calcium roadie. Your body needs it to help absorb the calcium. Although not many foods have vitamin D, it can be found in fatty fish, cheese, beef liver, and eggs yolks and fortified foods such as cereal, milk, and orange juice. Most of our intake of vitamin D comes from the sun. Skin produces the vitamin naturally when the sun hits it, so you should try and spend a little time outdoors to make sure your calcium has its proper amount of assistance.

Other Prevention Tips

  • Keep alcohol to a minimum. Consuming more than two drinks a day can raise the risk of bone loss.
  • Quite smoking. Smoking can actually double your chances of fractures and bone loss by interfering with estrogen function.
  • Don’t over exercise. The “female athlete triad” refers to the three issues that can result from too much exercise: thin bones, cessation of menstruation, and eating disorders. Irregular periods are often associated with low bone mass and decreased estrogen levels.
  • Cut down on Soda According to some studies, the extra phosphorus in soda may keep your body from absorbing calcium. Others speculate that women replace calcium-rich drinks, like milk, with soda.
  • While some drugs can help to maintain and build bones, they often have dangerous side effects. Always question a physician before taking any medicines.

What are you doing to keep your bones healthy? Let us know! We love to hear it.

Woman undergoing pulse therapy

Understanding The Anatomy Of A Lipoma

You’ve just been diagnosed with a lipoma. Your mind begins to spiral. How long have you got? What do you need to know? Who’s going to get Mom’s silverware? Relax. Lipomas are just one of those medical terms, like simple chronic halitosis; they only sound scary. In reality, lipomas are relatively harmless, and usually painless as well. However, at this stage in your life, the last thing you need is something unidentified growing on your body that can’t be gotten rid of with a flick of the hand or a damp tissue. So, what can you do about this unwanted guest? Let’s take a look at the wonderful anatomy of the lipoma.

Lipomas
Lipomas are lumps which slowly develop between the skin and the muscle layer underneath. Lipomas are easily identified because they move easily when pressure is exerted upon them. They tend to have a doughy feel, but normally are not tender and several may appear at a time. Although a lipoma may occur in individuals at any age, they mostly develop during the middle of a person’s life.

Symptoms
Lipomas are most often, but not limited to the neck, arm, back, and shoulder areas. They are located right under the skin, are soft and doughy to the touch, and are usually small. While lipomas are usually not painful, they may cause discomfort if they press on nerves or contain many blood vessels. Usually, the most troublesome symptom is the location of the lipoma or a significant increase in size which may make it noticeable to others.

Causes
Although the actual cause of a lipoma is not known, many experts believe genetics are responsible, since they tend to appear commonly in members of the same families. Occasionally, injuries to the body, such as a traumatic blow to the area have been shown to trigger growth as well.

resveralife Understanding The Anatomy Of Lipoma

Treatment
Lipomas typically do not require treatment, and there is no known treatment to stunt their growth or prevent them. However, surgical removal may be recommended if the lipoma becomes painful, inflamed or infected, if it drains smelly discharge, if it increases in size, if it interferes with movement, or becomes bothersome and difficult to look at. Lipoma removal is a relatively simple process done at a physician’s office with a local anesthetic. The surgeon will begin by making a small incision, followed by extraction of the tissue. Stitches are used to close the incision. Other choices for removal include:

Steroid Injections
Steroid injections usually will not completely eliminate the tumor but have been known to cause lipomas to shrink.

Liposuction
Liposuction employs a large syringe and needle to remove the lipoma, but it is difficult to remove the entire lump.

Herbal Remedies

Chickweed
Chickweed tincture can be obtained at herbal specialty stores. One teaspoon can be taken orally three times daily, or the chickweed can be obtained in ointment form, rubbed directly into the affected area once a day.

Bitters
Bitter herbs and foods increase the body’s ability to digest fat, which is what a lipoma essentially is. Bitter herbs include gentian, wormwood, goldenseal, and yarrow, while olives, unsweetened chocolate, citrus peel and dandelion greens are all examples of bitter foods.

Lemon Juice
Adding lemon juice to the water that you usually drink may be helpful in eliminating lipomas. Lemon Juice removes toxins from the body by stimulating the digestive system and cleansing the liver.

Cedar
Lipomas can be treated by applying a cedar ointment to the affected area three times per day. Mix five drops of cedar extract with two teaspoons of water and drink three times daily, then rub the ointment into your skin.

Did you treat your lipoma? Let us know how it went. And be sure to get all and any suspicious-looking lumps and growths examined by a professional.

Pills and medicine on wooden table

What It Takes To Get A New Drug Approved

How many of us trust our federal government? According to Pew Research, only 19% of Americans today say they can trust our government to do what is right “just about always.” So, if we don’t know it we can trust our government, how do we know we can trust our government agencies? Take, for example, the FDA. While we’d like to think that the agency responsible for approving the drugs that we bring into our home and give to ourselves and our family holds itself to higher standards than the government for which it works, how can we be sure? Let’s take a look at the prescription drug approval process in the US to see just how trustworthy it is.

The Lowdown
According to a report published in the medical journal JAMA, 32% or FDA approved drugs already in use between 2001 and 2010 “were affected by a postmarket safety event,” meaning the safety of these drugs was questionable even though they had already been placed on the market. Events varied between announcements about recently discovered side effects to outright withdrawal of drugs due to reports of fatalities. In tandem with the release of this report comes the consideration by the Trump administration to streamline and shorten the approval process. According to internist Joseph Ross, one of the study’s authors, ” Our data show that there are some cautionary predictors of increased likelihood of the FDA taking a safety action in the postmarket setting. This information should be taken into account as the FDA considers conditions of approval and when further clinical trials should be required to better understand drug safety.”

Researcher working in lab

Revelations of the JAMA Investigation

  • Of the 222 FDA approved drugs 71 led to a safety event with three resulting in outright withdrawals. Sixty-one of these drugs qualified for “black-box warnings,” or warning labels posted on the packaging of the drug framed in black rule “designed to call attention to serious of life-threatening risks.”
  • Psychiatric treatment drugs and biologics that were given accelerated approval and drugs that got approval around the time of a regulatory deadline were most likely to require warnings after hitting the market.
  • These events highlight “the need for continuous monitoring of the safety of novel therapeutics throughout their life cycle.”

Especially affected by these findings are older Americans, as many of the drugs spotlighted in the study have potential risks that won’t come to light for years. For example, revolutionary treatments of ailments such as rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, and Crohn’s disease are among those currently being researched for the long-term impact on the population because accelerated approval drugs are considered more urgently needed, research about these drugs often takes a backseat and may not qualify for approval in time to meet the needs of more mature patients.

Implications
President Barack Obama signed the 21st Century Cures Act last December to speed up the approval process for certain drugs, a process President Donald Trump referred to as “slow and burdensome,” claiming it was hindering medical advances from reaching needy patients. According to Ross, “Speeding up approval even further will not be without consequence. There will be more uncertainty at the time of approval, endless that is known about a new therapy’s safety as well as its anticipated benefits.

Are you shocked by these findings? Not surprised? Let us know what you think and what you think should be done. We want to hear from you.

Aspirin in woman's hand

This OTC Drug May Increase Your Risk Of Heart Attack

Pain. Barring the occasional UFC fighter, most of us have a very low tolerance for it. In fact, the majority of us want to rid ourselves of it as soon as possible. Luckily, pharmaceutical companies have long recognized the public outcry for quick and effective pain relief, and, as such, there is no shortage of accessible drugs and medications designed to stop every burning, aching, throbbing, and stinging sensation as soon as it hits. However, historically, when a product is in such demand, consumers are often not that particular about the risks involved, and pharmaceutical companies are not likely to highlight them. With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at the hidden dangers of a common OTC.

NSAIDs
The FDA is set to begin a program of strengthening existing warnings on Drug Facts labels to indicate that NSAIDs, or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, can increase the risk of stroke and heart attack. Over the counter NSAIDs are generally used to treat aches and pains and reduce fever. Common examples include ibuprofen, like Advil and Motrin, and naproxen.like Aleve. Some combination medications, like multi-symptom cold relievers, may also contain NSAIDs. According to Karen Mahoney, MD, and deputy director of the FDA’s Division of Nonprescription Drug Products, “Be careful not to take more than one product that contains an NSAID at a time.” She suggests checking the active ingredients list on the Drug Facts label to determine whether or not the product contains an NSAID.

Woman reading labels on her medicine

New Information
NSAIDs already provide information on stroke and heart attack risk on their labels; the FDA have been adding boxed warnings to prescription drug labels since 2005. However, more recent data has prompted the FDA to require companies to update the labels with more specific information. Among the more recent findings is the knowledge that risk of stroke and heart attacks may occur as early as within the first weeks of NSAID treatment. Judy Racoosin, MD, MPH says, “There is no period of use shown to be without risk.” While those who have cardiovascular disease are at the greatest risk for adverse effects of NSAIDs, Racoosin says, “Everyone may be at risk- even people without an underlying risk for cardiovascular disease.”

Consumer Advice
So, if NSAIDs are out, what should you do for pain relief? Experts say consumers can still take them but need to be aware of the implications, especially at high doses. Mahoney says, “As always, consumers must carefully read the Drug Facts label for all nonprescription drugs. Consumers should carefully consider whether the drug is right for them, and use the medicine only as directed. Take the lowest effective dose for the shortest amount of time possible.”

If you have a preexisting heart condition or high blood pressure, get a doctor’s opinion before taking an NSAID and weigh the risks and benefits. Also, if you are currently taking aspirin to protect against possible heart attacks and stroke, you should be aware that some NSAIDs, like naproxen a and ibuprofen can interfere with that effect. Mahoney suggests that you do everything possible to reduce risk factors for stroke and heart disease. “Smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes are significant risk factors for these conditions,” she says, “If you smoke, work on quitting. See your doctor regularly to find out if you have these other strong risk factors, and commit yourself to taking care of them and of your health.”

What are you doing to avoid taking NSAIDs or lowering your risk of heart disease and stroke? let us know how you weigh in! We love to get your thoughts.

Woman with dog at beach

Go Outside To Relieve Anxiety

Technology seems to be determined to deliver everything to us at the push of a button. We can shop, watch movies, eat, date, and even go on roller coasters all within the comfort of our own home. However, if life has become so easy, why do one in five women claim they suffer from anxiety all or most of the time, a figure almost double what it was two years ago? Perhaps it is because they don’t get outside often enough. Coinciding with the advent of Mental Health Awareness Week, ending on May 16, British Military Fitness has released research findings showing a direct link between outdoor exercise and the prevention of anxiety and depression. Could it be that the very technologies designed to lessen stress are really exacerbating it?

The Stats
Not only has the number of women suffering from anxiety been on the rise in the last five years, 22 percent admit being caught up in money worries and concern over the welfare of those close to them. This number has soared since 2009 when a survey by the Mental Health Foundation reported only 12 percent admitting to feelings of stress. In addition to the ladies, the charity Living with Anxiety found that over 50% of all people say they get more anxious now than they did in the past., and in a poll of 2,300 people by YouGov, almost a fifth reported feelings of anxiety about money, debt, and finance.

Anxiety
While anxiety can be a positive and even motivating emotion, constant unease can lead to panic, obsessive behaviors, and social phobias. Some sufferers resort to self-medication, including drugs, alcohol, and overeating, however, there are more healthful ways of coping.

Friends cycling

Benefits of Outdoor Exercise
Research by British Military Fitness shows a direct correlation between outdoor exercise and decreased stress levels. Of 1,000 people surveyed, 53.3 anxiety sufferers reported feeling better after spending time outdoors. Thirty-five percent said exercise boosted their moods, eased nervous feelings and lowered built up angst. According to Rob Love, managing director of BMF, “Everyone has feelings of anxiety at some point in their lives, whether it’s preparing for a job interview or managing a household. The research is encouraging, as it shows there is a recognition that being outdoors and participating in physical activity does help with both anxiety and depression.”

Get Moving
If you’re finding life becoming overwhelming, exercise may be a good way to help you unwind. Exercise releases invigorating chemicals in the body that can have a positive effect on your mood and leave you feeling more relaxed. Added bonuses include a more toned body, higher levels of energy and better sleep. Exercising to reduce stress does not have to be stressful! You don’t have to commit to hours at the gym or high impact activities. A quick stroll or just walk upstairs instead of taking the elevator are both easy ways of sneaking a little movement into your day. Leisure activities can also be a fun way to get your heart rate up. Consider taking a dance class, or playing some golf or tennis.

Are you exercising to stave off depression? Let us know how you lighten up when things get heavy. We love to hear from you!