runners exercise jog run 16x9

Quit Smoking, Exercise To Boost Your Health

Coronavirus is causing problems around the globe that’s impacting people’s health in a way unlike anything we have ever seen. There are certain sections of society – namely older people – who are more vulnerable to infection, but another way of being more vulnerable than the general population – according to new research – is by being a smoker.

Though more research needs to be done on the subject, early reports show that both traditional smokers and those who vape are more open to the chance of catching the virus than those who don’t. This is thought to be because smokers have elevated levels of ACE-2, a vital enzyme that helps the virus enter their lungs and replicate more freely.

There are plenty of smokers who want to quit. They know their health is at risk by smoking in general, and with Covid-19 being a disease that attacks the lungs it only makes sense that it would be a torrid problem for smokers. Quitting isn’t easy – if it was more people would be able to – but here are three ways to protect your overall health by getting smoking out of your life:

1 – Share a quit date
Getting that information out there will keep you accountable. Tell your friends the day you want to quit by and then build up the resources and the support network you will need to get to that point. Getting some sort of nicotine replacement is going to be important, as is filling your days with things to keep you distracted from the cravings. This is a mental game as much as anything and having friends in the right places at the right time is vital to helping you meet your quitting goal.

2 – Boost your overall health
Quitting smoking and keeping your lifestyle the same is admirable, but potentially kind of pointless. This is a huge change – a change that will open up your world and your health – so use this time to change more about yourself than no longer needing a smoke break. Maybe get back into the exercise game; yoga is an ideal option as it will help you focus on your spiritual health and your breathing techniques.  Running is also another great exercise that you can do alone or with others.  Plus, you can run at any time or place.   Whatever self-care you are interested in you should give it a try.

3 – Know the cravings will pass
This is the hardest part of quitting smoking. The cravings are real and they are intense. They will hit you and they will hit you hard. If you expect the hard cravings and know they will come before long the cravings will pass and the process will get much better. However, don’t fight the cravings, just ride them out and have a strategy for what you are going to do when they get bad. Replacement products are out there and they will be needed for you to kick smoking and vitally improve your health.

Article by Vital Guidance

Red bell peppers

Seven Vital Foods To Help Fight The Coronavirus

We have already mentioned on this site how one of the best ways to prepare yourself for a COVID-19 infection is to have an immune system ready and raring to fight the virus. In that article, we offered guidance about the basic vitamins and minerals that would provide vital nutrients for fighting Coronavirus as well as any pathogen you might encounter. This time around, we are going to get a little more specific and look at foods that you should be eating to maintain that nutrient balance during the pandemic.

Here are seven foods you may want to have in your house at this time:

1.  Mushrooms:  We know that Vitamin D is a huge immune system booster. While it is most often sourced through sun exposure, there are also some foods that are a reliable source of the vitamin. Mushrooms are one such food and they are so versatile that they can be incorporated into almost any dish.

2.  Yogurt:  It’s known for being a source of probiotics – think good bacteria – and it will provide a great boost to your immune system. When deciding which to buy, go as basic as possible by getting a good, plain, probiotic filled yogurt and throwing some fruit into it.

3.  Strawberries:  Vitamin C protects against cell damage and about half a cup of the delicious berries will give you half of your recommended daily need. You can do plenty with strawberries – there is nothing wrong with eating them plain or with cream – but add them to a spinach salad for something a little different.

4.  Broccoli:  This could really be titled the ‘Green Leafy Catchall.”. This is another Vitamin C source and with the amount you have to eat (only half a cup) to get half of your recommended daily amount, there is really no reason to be slacking. Broccoli should be one of your go-to vegetables to add in any stir fry.

5.  Red Bell Pepper:  The red peppers contain double the amount of Vitamin C of the famed citrus fruits. Throw in their high levels of beta carotene and you have a very powerful little vegetable. They are another versatile workhorse veggie, too, as eating them raw on sandwiches or cooked on a pizza are just two ways to enjoy them and get their vital nutrients.

6.  Sunflower seeds:  They may seem simple, but sunflower seeds are a great snack for the immune system. Vitamin B-6 is one that is important, as is the Vitamin E, magnesium, and phosphorous that these power pellets provide. Just salt them and eat them (or throw them onto that broccoli based stir fry).

7.  Papaya:  So, you want your recommended Vitamin C in one dose? A single papaya has 224% of your daily need.  In addition, Papayas have an enzyme called papain that helps with inflammation.  They also have potassium and B vitamins and they are delicious.

There are many other foods that will give your immune system a boost or keep it operating at peak levels.  Partner them with some exercise and appropriate rest for your best chance of fighting off any infection.

Article by Vital Guidance

Vitamins

Vitamins help prepare for the unknown affects of viruses

One of the biggest hurdles that we will all struggle with at one time or another in the face of the COVID-19 situation is the unknown. The truth is that no one – scientists, government officials, the neighbor with the cat that knows everything (nothing) really has no idea about the scope of this worldwide virus. That is why what we need to do is focus on the things we do know and the things that we can do something about.

Eating healthy won’t keep the Coronavirus at bay.  What it will do, however, is have your immune system as ready and healthy as possible to fight off the invasive threat.  This is a story as old as time itself and it is a well-known way to stay healthy through troubling times.  Here are a few nutrients to focus on in the weeks ahead:

Vitamin D
Sun exposure is important as there are immune cells that use vitamin D to destroy viral pathogens that cause infections.  Getting just a few minutes outdoors will help with this sun retention – though more is obviously better as it will also help your mental health to get out and relax.   Also, a number of food brands can be found with added vitamin D to help with this vital nutrient.

Vitamin C/E
These vitamins protect your cells from oxidative stress as they shore up your structures and reduce possible inflammations. Vitamin C is especially important as it will help the body get back to normal more quickly by reacting and causing an immune response that will clean up any junk in the system as quickly as possible. Citrus fruits are the go-to options here.

Vitamin A
Another structure vitamin, Vitamin A forms a barrier in the respiratory tract and gut as your initial line of defense against a virus. This vitamin is also important for making the antibodies that will fight the virus and it can be found in oily fish, cheese, and egg yolks.

B vitamins
All useful, but B6, B9, and B12 are the best of the bunch. They attack a pathogen by causing infected cells to implode and stop their spread around the body. Cereals and leafy greens are good sources of B vitamins, with B12 being found in eggs, meat, and dairy products.

Getting as much healthy food into the system – with vitamins and minerals in the right doses – will give your body a greater chance of fighting off not only COVID-19, but also the seasonal flu and other viral infections. This will put you in the best position to make it through any outbreak on the mild end of the scale.  Stay safe.

Article by Vital Guidance

Cough Syrup

Gateway Drugs Lead To More Dangerous Opioid Abuse

Gateway drugs come in all shapes, sizes and names. They are hard to combat because the drugs most commonly used as a gateway to addiction change with availability and trends in culture. One of the most popular – and therefore most dangerous – gateway drugs in our current world is the opioid Codeine.

Codeine is a mild opioid that is used to treat mild to moderately severe pain. While it is used for mild pain in its original form, this is a drug that has been seen to be easy to become addicted to and that is a drug that leads to abusing other – more dangerous – opiates.

Codeine comes in tablet form, but the most common gateway use of the drug is via prescription grade cough syrup and cough suppressants. It works as a gateway drug because people see Codeine as less dangerous than something like morphine because how dangerous can cough syrup really be? The answer is very dangerous.  Large doses of Codeine has the same effect on the body as low doses of morphine in the system. This is typical gateway drug patterning.

Problems develop because Codeine tolerance is fast in its development. This means that users quickly need more of the drug – or a different drug of a higher strength – to get their fix. This is true both of abusers who use the drug recreationally, and for those who are using Codeine in a legitimate way to treat their pain, be that pain occasional, chronic, or emotional.

While people think of Codeine as a mild drug compared to scary names like heroin and Oxy, high enough doses of Codeine can lead to a coma and death. This is especially true when Codeine is taken recreationally on the street as it is often mixed with other drugs to create an artificially high.

Codeine is a dangerous drug. Users will eventually not get their high from Codeine and move on to other opiates. You may also see users mixing Codeine abuse with alcohol abuse to get the fix that they need before moving on to yet more dangerous substances. If you have a friend or family member who you are worried is developing a Codeine addiction then know you need to act and help them before that addiction transitions from Codeine down a path that is even more difficult to recover from.

Article by Vital Guidance

Opioid Abuse

Opioid Abuse Leads To Harmful Consequences

Taking prescription opioids to manage pain is part of everyday life for millions of people.  As a mentor presenting vital guidance to your friends and loved ones it is important that you know how to spot problems and behaviors that are associated with opioid abuse, opioid dependency, and an opioid overdose.

The first sign of dependency is a fairly obvious one. Prescription medication comes with detailed information on when and how much medication should be taken. If you notice someone taking their meds more than instructed – or at a higher dose than instructed – then there is already a problem. This is because they need to increase their exposure to the drug in order to find relief that was manageable before, but might be quickly spinning out of control.

Other signs of dependency are what you would expect from a category of drugs – including the lines of morphine, oxycodone, and fentanyl – that have the ability to take over a person’s life. Increased tolerance begets persistent use of the drug despite obviously harmful consequences. A person will lose interest in their normal activities, obligations, and routines as they fall victim to the drug, becoming ever more dependent and moving one step closer to a life threatening – and often life taking – overdose.

The signs of an overdose are terrifying, but if you know anyone who is on opioids – be it for a legitimate reason or not – then it is important to recognize them instantly. The difference between an overdose and a very strong high are not always that obvious, making it even harder to tell if a person is in serious danger.

Overdose symptoms include:

  • Labored, slow, or even zero breathing
  • Limp body
  • Pin-point pupils
  • Pale, cold or blue skin
  • Choking and/or gurgling sounds
  • Unresponsive to anything you do

Overdoses are killers, and you must react in a rapid and calm way to find help quickly. As dependency often falls along multiple lines, be aware the chances of overdose has vastly increased when opioids are mixed with sedatives and/or alcohol.

Prevention is always going to be the first choice when dealing with opioid abuse, doing whatever it takes to help someone get away from the drugs that are hurting them. Sometimes – even with the best will in the world – this isn’t possible and in those situations knowing if it is an opioid overdose or a strong high can be the difference between life and death.

“It is important that we change the viewpoint that our nation and the medical community currently has about opioid addiction,” says Dr. Andre Waisman, founder of The ANR Clinic which educates and treats opioid addictions around the world.  “Rather than treating it as a chronic relapsing illness, doctors should approach it from the angle of a disease for treatment of the root cause rather than only it’s symptoms. By doing so we can move forward towards an age where treatment is no longer the same unsuccessful methods from 30 years ago but rather a more beneficial and humane treatment for patients of opioid addiction.”

For more information or for treatment of opioid addictions, call The ANR Clinic in Tampa, FL at (813) 750-7470.

Article by Vital Guidance

opioids and pain

ANR Clinic Treats Opioid Addictions At A Different Level

For decades the narrative on opioids has been that it is a mental health problem that people fall victim to who are weak minded. Maybe at first this made sense. Maybe back in the early stages of the opioid epidemic it was easy to turn the other cheek when seeing people fall victim to addiction and just say “That would never happen to me”.

Those days are gone.

We are living in a country in the middle of a crisis because of how opioid issues have been treated from the beginning. This is not a disease that only affects junkies, it is something that anyone in any walk of life can fall victim to.  All it takes it one accident that requires painkillers for the cycle to start. A car collision, an injury on the job site, simply stepping wrong while walking and hurting an ankle, these can all be the first step towards an addiction that will change everything about you as a person.

Rehab centers are not the only answer, and may not even be the best answer. Sure, the vital guidance they give is helpful to some, but the number of people seeking treatment four or five times over tells you everything you need to know about their effectiveness to the masses. One reason they don’t work is because the treatment – be it mental health work or replacing one opioid with another to wean someone off of a drug – is summarily ineffective and inefficient.

This is not a mental health problem at its core. If it was then the government wouldn’t have to spend almost $2 billion a year to combat what has become a national epidemic.  Synthetic opioids have become an even bigger problem. In 2017, almost 60% of opioid deaths were chalked up to synthetic products. Many times these are coming from illicit manufacturers with no skin in the game other than to get their product out and make money for what has become a lucrative criminal enterprise product.

According to Dr. Andre Waismann of the ANR Clinic, the problem instead should be focused on the physical. Opioid use has been proven to alter brain structures. The receptors in the brain are altered and the dependency takes hold. From there, it doesn’t matter what guidance are given by mental health professionals, the damage has been done and the need for further drug use is now built in.  To cure this epidemic it is the physical side we need to concentrate on, he says.

In 1998, after successfully treating thousands of patients, including a 6-year old child that became opioid-dependent after a brain tumor operation, Dr. Waismann shared his findings around the efficacy and safety of his method at the International Congress of Anesthesia at Frankfurt.  In 2019, he established the first US ANR Clinic in Tampa, FL as the international headquarters for education, treatment, and further academic efforts for opioid addiction.

For more information or for treatment, call the ANR Clinic in Tampa, FL at (813) 750-7470.

Article by Vital Guidance

Carbon Footprint

Your Carbon Footprint Reduction Makes Earth Healthier

What if eating healthier and getting more of the vital nutrition you need could also help reduce your carbon footprint and play a part in making the earth a healthier and more sustainable place?

With climate change and resource extraction being such hot-button issues there are many people who want to know what they can do to help. One way of doing so is to turn towards more sustainable eating patterns, with some research suggesting that doing so could help slash greenhouse gas emissions by up to 70% over time.

You can’t chance the future of the earth on your own, but you can make nutritional decisions that make you a healthier person while also helping the global fight against climate change in your own way.

Here are some ideas to help:

No More Plastic

This one is an easy change to make that works on multiple levels. Goods packaged in boxes, styrofoam, and plastic are usually full of preservatives and chemicals. Instead of buying these items, go for fresh produce that is full of the vital nutrients you need to live a better life. Beyond that, don’t be tempted to put your groceries inside the plastic bags or wrap provided by the store and don’t use the single use grocery bags. Instead, use your own bags and feel good about what you walk out of the store with.

Eat Less Meat

This is another simple change that you might be shocked to learn would contribute to a serious decline in greenhouse gas emissions if everyone followed a more vegetarian or vegan friendly lifestyle. This is because the emissions from beef and dairy cattle specifically – and livestock production in general – represents about 14.5% of global human-induced greenhouse gas emissions. While taking all meat out of a diet might now be possible, limiting yourself to one meat based meal a day is something that everyone could try.

Grow Your Own Food

For centuries, humans have grown their own food in their back yards, fields or allotments. This is something we have moved away from over time with our city or suburb based lives to the point that it is now rare to see a working adult with a vegetable patch that they cultivate and use. Growing your own fruit and vegetables obviously reduces your need to plastic and other carbon footprint altering materials. Along with the vital nutrients you are guaranteed from your own produce, having a garden to tend to also helps reduce stress and promotes an improved state of emotional well being.

Buy Local

This is an extension of the growing-your-own-food concept but on a larger scale. Local food is less damaging on the environment because it is much easier to transport food on a local level. More than that, local food tends to be seasonal. This is important because food grown out of season – mass produced for a national market – takes a much higher toll on the environment. The added benefit here is that money stays in the local economy and you will learn to love foods native to where you live.

Article by Vital Guidance

Gut

Five Ways To Develop and Keep A Healthy Gut

In the past, our digestive system was considered a relatively uncomplicated body system. But increase research on the topic in the past two decades has elucidated an incredibly complex system and how vital it is to our well-being.

Studies show that there are positive links between gut health and the immune system. Gut microbiome refers to the microorganisms that live in our intestines. Each person has about 300 to 500 different species of bacteria in their alimentary canal. Though some of these organisms are harmful, a lot of them are beneficial and even necessary to a healthy body.

Avoid a high-sugar or processed diet

Food that is processed and includes added sugars can reduce the number of useful bacteria in the gut. This imbalance can result in increased sugar cravings which becomes a cycle of gut damaging behavior.  To avoid this, abandon foods that are canned and opt for fresh foods. Also eat carbohydrates that do not come with a mix of ingredients and are not from a factory. Eating plenty of lean protein and foods with a lot of fiber contributes to a healthy gut microbiome.

Get sufficient sleep

Not having enough sleep or restful sleep can negatively impact our gut health. Sleep allows your body to recover from microscopic accidents that occur during waking hours. Try to prioritize sleep and get at least 7-8hrs a day. Not only does sleep affect your bowel but the reverse is also the case. According to a 2017 National Sleep Foundation survey, 37% of US adults report their sleep quality is poor. Melatonin, a sleep hormone is produced in the brain. In the gut, an amino acid known as tryptophan can be converted into melatonin and help regulate sleep. Unfortunately, this back-up-plan requires a healthy gut.

Stay hydrated

Water is one of the key ingredients to a properly functioning gut. Drinking plenty of water has been shown to have a beneficial effect on the lining of the intestines as well as keeping the “good” bacteria more that the “bad” ones. It also helps to get rid of toxins that could damage the cells in your gut and helps to keep waste soft enough to be easily evacuated from your intestines.

Exercise regularly

Regular exercise has been proven to improve the heart, health, and promote weight loss or maintenance. Researcher Bernardo A. Petriz et al. also suggests that exercising may also improve gut health which could in turn assist in controlling obesity. It was discovered that athletes have a larger variety of gut flora than nonathletes. However, athletes ate a different diet from the control group which could account for the differences in their microbiomes.

Avoid smoking

Smoking is one of the worst habits you can pick up.  It negatively affects gut health as well as heart and lung health. In a 2018 research by Savin Z. et al. that was published over a 16-year period, it was found that smoking alters the intestinal environment by relatively increasing the harmful bacteria. These effects may increase the risk of developing conditions like inflammatory bowel disease.

Article by Vital Guidance

russell wilson mental conditioning

7 Vital Steps To Help You Perform Better At Everything

The whole area of Sports Psychology and mental health are gaining exponential traction, but it’s surprising at how little is still understood about what Psychology applied to sport is.  This very thing is addressed in the interview below with Mental Performance Coach Richard Dean.

Richard is a London-based practitioner and Senior Associate of the Royal Society of Medicine.  He’s been a mentor for several NFL players, International Cricketers, International Rugby players, and International Soccer players. He has also been involved in six World Championship Boxing fights.

His academic work has been published by:  American Education Research Journal, American Journal of Educational Science, Nova Science Publishers, and Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy Journal.

Richard, welcome to Premier Players and thanks for sharing your work:

A pleasure to be here.

First off, give an insight into some of your experiences:

My work has led to some amazing experiences.  I’ve had the privilege to work in very high-profile, high-octane environments- such as the NFL, ATP World Tour Tennis Finals, in Boxing- World Title Fights; International Test Cricket, World Athletics Championships. Each experience of working with some of the best athletes in the world has been, and continues to be; deeply enriching.

One of my favourite memories was working with a World Title challenging Boxer at the O2 Arena, London. Looking out from the ring at a sea of 20,000 people, and a host of prominent people at ringside- knowing that all eyes in that arena are on your event; thrilling!

Another momentous occasion had me working with an American client who was fighting for an International title in Germany. Everything was stacked up against him, the logistics were difficult, the promoter made everything as hard as possible. And as my role was wider than just performance psychology, I had to deal with it all! I did- and we won! Despite everything being in the opponent’s favor. It was a great victory and we took the Championship to the USA!

Sounds incredible, so what exactly is Sport Psychology?

Sport Psychology looks at the influence that the mind has upon performance. It is proactively working mentally to be better. You don’t need something to ‘fix’ in order to benefit from working mentally!  It is giving people the tools, so that they can apply consistent approaches in the most pressured moments, and providing a framework for dealing with difficult situations.   That is Sport Psychology! It’s about making people more resilient, tougher, and plugged in to playing without distraction or white noise!

I want to get this across- Sport Psychology is NOT just about motivation and powerful speeches and behavior that is intended to rouse. In fact, I would like to assert that most of the time it is CATEGORICALLY not about that!

Applying specific, focused advice linked to developing mental skills and attitudes is so important. A great example is Russell Wilson- he has worked at this off the field, so that he can ‘just play’ on it!

How do you start with that process?

First, it should be determined how ‘mentally skillful’ an athlete is, and then collaboratively find ways to continually get mentally sharper in order to eliminate fine-focus errors.

I see it is as developing a strategy to ensure that you are the best possible you each and every week. As an athlete, finding comfort in the knowledge that you are preparing in the best way possible for YOU is a huge key! And that is so individual, I would advise and develop completely different ways of going about that process, dependent on the player’s individual personality.

So, just how do you determine someone’s mental fitness?

Having spoken to many athletes over the years, I believe I have a great handle on assessing the level of someone’s mental skills and mental health. Anecdotally, I’m able to see patterns from how people talk and conduct themselves- and I also use inventories if that’s what the athlete wants. I use a method called the TAIS, which was introduced to me by my colleague Dr. Michelle Pain.

I have undertaken programs of study at ‘the mecca’ of healthcare- the world-famed Harley Street, and have carried that forth, and distilled my education into a very practical and solution focused, rather than an overly theoretical MO.

How can someone help themself?

One very simple step that an athlete can take immediately is to:

1- think about your best performances
2- think about your worst performances
3- think about how you prepared leading to the best performances
4- think about how you prepared leading to the worst performances
5- determine if there is a relationship between your preparation and your performances
6- apply more of what led to the best
7- do less of what led to the worst

 I do believe that this model can apply to pretty much any context – Sports, Work or Life!

I have spoken to athletes for hours to get the above exactly right- and it’s amazing for me as a practitioner to have an athlete tell me that due to our work together, they’ve had a eureka moment! They will often say something like- This is it! I identify with this! This is MY way! To help them get to that is wonderful!

Thanks Rich, if anyone wants to reach out, can they do so?

Happy to help if my capacity allows.  People can e-mail me at rich.dean@talk21.com

Morning Exercising

Evidence Proves Exercising Is Best In The Morning

We all know that we should be exercising regularly.  The guidance provided by doctors, nutritionists, and others shows that study after study proves being physically fit and active is one of the biggest keys to leading a long and healthy life.

One thing not all people in the know agree on, however, is when the best time to exercise actually is. This debate is most often split into two camps.  Two camps that are very forceful about their beliefs with the point of contention being whether it is better to exercise before or after breakfast. That is why a new study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism is being deep-dived by those in the exercise industry.

The study – conducted over six weeks by scientists from the University of Bath and University of Birmingham in England – took a group of 30 men and split them into before breakfast exercisers, after breakfast exercisers, and a control group who kept their daily routines the same. The findings were shocking, discovering that those men who exercised before breakfast and before they started their day actually burned twice as much fat as those who fuelled up before their workout.

Dr. Javier Gonzalez from the University of Bath explained the findings as such. “Our results suggest that changing the timing of when you eat in relation to when you exercise can bring about profound and positive changes to your overall health.”

The major changes picked up by this study were not related to weight loss. The order of breakfast and exercise didn’t impact the weight changes in the participants at all, but those that exercised first saw immediate changes to their health that included a lower risk of heart disease and diabetes. It also showed that those participants were better able to regulate their blood sugar and that their insulin response was improved.

These kinds of studies are important for individuals because the guidance of when to exercise is just as important as knowing that exercise is effective in the first place. Armed with knowledge like this, a person will be able to better plan their workouts, hitting the gym in the morning to gain the best benefits and health boosts from the work that they put in. Exercising is often as much about efficiency as anything else, and following the guidelines in this study is a way to immediately make your exercise plan more efficient.

 

Article by Vital Guidance