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The Secret to Combating Physical Stress: It's as simple as Popeye's Spinach.

Spinach was Popeye's panacea. Anytime he encountered physical stress and was in need of a physical boost, out came the can of spinach.

I hate to burst your bubble, but I'm not going to tell you to run to the grocery store and stock up on spinach. Nonetheless, there is a brilliant, elegant and simple solution.

Are you ready? It is just as you may have suspected...SWEAT!

You heard me, I want you to sweat! I want you to get fit!

(Photo compliments of common.wikimedia.org)

Physical stress is at a peak today, in a world of button pushers and office workers who sit on their buttocks 40 plus hours a week.

I can almost forgive you for this, but then, what I cannot forgive you for is what do you do next. You go home and sit on the computer or in front of the television for goodness knows how many more hours.

It is time to work out more than your buttock muscles!

The reality is that everyone needs to MOVE. And without motion, we are accumulating more and more physcial stress in our bodies.

Any stress, regardless of the type of stress is B-A-D. It literally means we are moving closer and closer to dis-ease and death. We can see this very clearly as we watch the obesity statistics rise to alarming proportions.

The cold hard facts about the state of Canadian's Physical Stress Levels:

  • According to Canada's Physical Activity Guide to Healthy Active Living for Older Adults, 60% of Canadians are not active enough to benefit their health.
  • Inactivity is also a concern for our health care system. The current cost related to physical inactivity has been estimated at $2.1 billion annually.
  • According to a 2004 Canadian Study, 23.1% of Canadians aged 18 or older, an estimated 5.5 million adults, had a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more, indicating that they were obese.
  • Another 8.6 million, or 36.1%, were overweight.
  • This represents $11billion in direct health care costs.

Source: 2004 Canadian Community Health Survey: Nutrition (CCHS).

By the way, the American statistics are very close to the Canadian Ones.

Top 5 reasons to work out to minimize physical stress:

First, I want to stress the importance of working out in moderation. Do not get obsessed about it...working out is not meant to kill you, it is meant to be fun.

That means 3-4 times a week, for a minimum of 20 minutes.

Here are my top 5 reasons to work out and minimize physical stress:

  1. Rid your body of excess stress hormones
  2. Improve your heart function
  3. Decrease blood sugar and insulin levels
  4. Increase your energy levels
  5. Make you feel good about your body

I hate exercise, and I hate sweating, what do I do?

As a close friend would tell me "Suck it up Buttercup"

I have to agree. You don't have much choice here. Your body needs to move in order to stay healthy, so you just have to get with the program so to speak.

What you can do is figure out specifically what movements and exercises you like best. Everyone has a very different body type and so becoming a marathon runner is not a good choice for everyone, just as the colour of sea-foam green would not be an appropriate bridesmaid dress choice for everyone!

Like anything else that is new, you won't do it if you hate it. So find something that you can get passionate about. Spin it, in your favour - whatever motivates you:

  • If you are motivated by looking great in a new outfit then use that as your inspiration to start sweating it out.
  • If you are motivated by learning something new then pick a challenging or new sport.
  • If you are motivated by social time then join a group activity.

And then go to it.

It takes approximately 40 days, to train a new habit. So do not start exercising and then give up after a week. Do it for at least 2 months, and a minimum of 2-3 times a week.

Start slowly.

Don't get so gung-ho that you set yourself up for failure. If you are not doing anything today, and tomorrow you choose to do one jumping jack, then you have done more today than were doing. The following day you can do two jumping jacks and so on...before you know it, you will have turned a negative physical stress into a positive physical stress.

The added bonus of Sweating:

Aside from the bad hair day caused by sweat, it is actually the best body detox cleanse you can get for free.

Most do not know this, but your skin is your largest detoxifying organ in your body and regular sweating through exercise is critical for your body to eliminate harmful toxins and waste products from your body.

Yours In Wellness,

Dr. Lisa

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