Yep! I am hearing you loud and clear! And so are a vast majority of people I talk to. Modern life is literally fast paced and just wanting to slow down, racing the clock and needing more time, keeping up with the Joneses and being swamped by comparison, deadlines and just making ends meet, fine print and wishing for simplicity, constant connection and needing to disconnect… How the hell can anyone NOT feel sick and tired…
This is my life too… its not something we can just walk away from. It is how our modern world exists. So the struggle is real, how can we make our way through this modern life without losing the quality of life we live. For so many it takes it toll… Stress, high blood pressure, weight gain, alcohol misuse, financial stress, low immunity, poor relationships … it can be just so TOXIC !
What we need is a magic PILL right! That will solve it! Or will it? … The rising concern for health is that we no longer control it by making good choices so the only choice we have left is to swallow “the Pills”…. to help us sleep to calm us down, to pep us up, to improve our mood, to control our blood sugar and blood pressure, to slow our appetite… we can choose to take the pills to make those hard choices for us.
Considering that in Australia 80% of all overdose deaths were a result of pharmaceutical drugs and the most commonly used were sedatives and analgesics you would think that perhaps we would be more open to other options. Lets not negate the fact that 1 in 4 people aged 14 years or older have used prescription drugs not for the intended pharmaceutical purpose of the drug, why are we not looking at whats going on here…
Now I know many of us are concerned about illicit drug use, I mean the facts are that ICE use in the regional area I live and work in is one of the hot spots in our state! Dealers are lacing Dope with it and creating an income through the addiction. Now I am not naive enough to think that curiosity, rebellion, socio-economic status, education, peer pressure and a variety of other environmental factors and the like don’t play a role in some of this type of drug use, but I feel that the real issue is how do people get to the place where they feel that escaping life is a better option than living it?
In my experience as a personal trainer, exercise physiologist, secondary school teacher of over 20 years and working in the the health and wellness industry for over 25 years I have witnessed changes in our lifestyle choices that I believe are pushing people to live low quality lives and poor health is the just the start of it…but lets take an honest look at where this is taking us… what our futures are looking like…on a physiological level
High stress levels – trigger the Hypothalamus ( a tiny control centre in you brain – which is also communicating with your Vagus nerve – a complex neural centre that sends messages to and from the gastro-intestinal tract, heart , lungs and some of our smooth autonomous muscles) to send out stress hormones such as Cortisol and adrenaline that initiate an innate fight, flight or freeze response. This causes the release of blood sugars, free fatty acids, and other hormones into our blood stream ready for action – but essentially in a non-life threatening situation our body does not need them and so is left to mop up the excess which in the long term can lead to :
- high blood pressure
- increased of type 2 diabetes
- fertility hormone disruption or imbalance
- muscle tension leading to chronic pain
- heart issues e.g. irregular heart beat and increased risk of heart attack
- digestive disruption & stomach issues
- insomnia and disrupted sleep patterns
- mental health concerns i.e. anxiety and depression
- low energy & adrenal fatigue
- weight issues and liver concerns
- Poor immune function and inflammation
- and more….
Lowered physical activity levels – For the average Australian it is recommended that we take part in at least 150-300 minutes of moderate to vigorous (that’s the kind that gets our heart rate up, increases our breathing rate, increases body temperature, uses whole body movement) across approximately 5 sessions each week. A huge 54% of Aussie women and 51% of Aussie men do not meet this requirement, and even more staggering 80% of Aussie Children aged 5-17 do not meet the minimum levels of physical activity for children! What is the cost of all this inactivity? Lets see…..lowered metabolic function, lowered lean muscle mass, increased rick of falls and injury, reduced mental and emotional balance, lowered immune efficiency, increased body fat, blood lipids, and blood circulation, poor sleep, increased risk of chronic lifestyle diseases such as heart disease, cancer, arthritis and diabetes, and more…
Diets bulked up with processed convenience foods – While many of us think we eat a healthy balanced diet lets look at the BIG picture in Australia. only 8% of women and 3% of men eat sufficient amounts of fruit and vegetables each week! 20% or less of the Aussie population eat enough vegetables on a weekly basis! After the age of 4 the consumption of fresh fruit and veg drop dramatically, and I could go on…. but to save time lets think about why this happens? School, work, studies, social life, stress, time all get in the way of planning good food consumption and convenience becomes the boss of our diet. So when we look at the fact that 61% of the foods on our supermarket shelves are categorised as ULTRA processed and that 98% of convenience foods ( including ready to eat meals, frozen meals, pre-prepared sauces and dressings, tinned foods, processed meats, and desserts) fall into this ultra processed category we can see we have a problem. Numerous studies have linked a high consumption of ultra-processed foods with an increased risk of chronic conditions… insert Cancer, type 2 diabetes, celiac disease, and multiple sclerosis and these are just a few of the outcomes associated with consuming these processed foods. Now we do have plenty of fruit and veg to choose from in the supermarket, but unfortunately due to the production and storage processed we are only getting approximately 40% of the true nutrient value of these foods by the time we get them home and consume them (and lets not talk about the chemicals they are exposed to)… No wonder we are struggling to meet our needs!
Now before I step of my soap box I will firmly state that I am no Angel with all of this… how can we be?… We are all living in a similar world right, and none of us are immune to modern life…What I am saying is that we have the power of CHOICE! So, what I do is make good well informed choices and I help my family and others do the same. And the joy in all of this dismal information I have just spewed out to you is, that with our modern life comes some amazing research and technology that is affording us some excellent information to educate ourselves on how we can best manipulate our situations for a better life. The trick is its not as easy as taking the pill, flicking the remote, heating up the ready made meal….
So… where to from here? Some of the options I take are these:
- combine family time and physical activity whenever possible, walk and talk, match active play time with passive play ( & by the way passive play does not always include screen time!, that they have to earn, and I will talk about that another time)
- Fill your trolley with fresh first, then there is less room for processed foods, utilise market fresh foods where possible, or order in a fresh fruit and veg box once a week, save up 2 days a week for those special treats, and meal prep and plan as much as possible.
- seek out and invest in good quality, science backed, clinically and independently tested botanical supports for immunity, reduced stress, sleep assistance, adrenal and hormonal support and metabolic function
- Hydrate yourself well with good quality water and keep a track of how much you drink compared to when you feel hungry, tired, or have a headache.
- Stretch everyday, as you relax in front of the TV or screen, use your breathe to manage your stress and tension and where possible consciously disconnect form EVERYTHING for at least 10 minutes a day!
I will live my best life and make well informed choices about how I live in this modern world. I have the ability influence my own health and wellbeing and that of my family. When I am strategic about my health and wellbeing it makes the impact of modern life more positive. I do not have to be sick and tired of being sick and tired.