Tag: exercise

I read a headline in the press recently about the drive to medicate half our population to help reduce high blood pressure.

It showed how studies point to aggressive use of medication to get this problem sorted. Yet I would argue that aggressive promotion of exercise for everyone should be the absolute first line of defence for this problem.

Most people’s high blood pressure problems are caused by a chronic lack of movement. This leads to a weaker heart from the fact it does not have to do much every day – our body is very dynamic and clever and it is always looking for efficiency savings so if we sit and do nothing it will let muscle waste away that is not required.

Muscle requires lots of energy to maintain it so if it is not being used your body will let some of it disappear so it can move important resources elsewhere, such as using energy to feed your brain. I am over simplifying the entire process but the old adage of ‘use it or lose it’ is very true.

Therefore, you sit all day and your heart gets weaker. The knock on effect of this is that your heart has to pump harder to get the circulation moving, therefore, your blood pressure rises.

This is where we then see the usual, predictable, standard medical response of treating the symptom (your high blood pressure) rather than the cause (your sedentary lifestyle) because getting you to deal with the cause does not make a single penny for a drugs company.

I’m sorry to say that the world is a very cynical place and being healthy does not pay. Of course, humans are also naturally lazy and always looking for the easy route so having a drug for a problem appears the simple, easy way out.

Yet this is not in any way the easy way out. Have you seen the side effects of using these drugs long term? In an issue of Cardiology Review it was shown that these drugs increase the risk of death and being hospitalised. They can also cause acute kidney failure.

There are many problems with taking long term medication for a symptom. However, using exercise brings nothing but enormous benefits to all aspects of your life.

Exercise does not just lower your blood pressure, it can improve your mood, ability to do things (like going up stairs – and believe me, I see plenty of people who start to lose that vital skill), get out of a chair and on and on.

If you have been sedentary for a long time, start with walking and get advice from a health expert before you throw yourself into a movement regime. Do not be concerned by picking up niggles, aches and even injuries when you exercise – your body will recover from these and you will learn from them too.

Medication should only ever be the option of last resort – nobody has ever become ill from a lack of meds. Avoid wherever possible.

Exercise is truly the wonder drug of drugs for your health. Use your body wherever possible.

Our body is a moving machine, so move it.

Take care,

Nick Tofalos

Health Confusions – A thought…

I stopped by my local coffee shop this morning to grab a Flat White before my working day began. Whilst I was waiting for it to be made I couldn’t help overhearing a conversation at a nearby table.

An elderly gentleman was explaining to his friends at the table that he had read in the paper last week that drinking up to six cups of coffee a day are good for you and can help prevent cancer and heart disease amongst other things.

What struck me about this was not the subject matter he was talking about – though if I had six cups of coffee a day I’d be zipping around faster than roadrunner – but the fact he had garnered this snippet of information from a newspaper.

These little gems of health information are drip fed to us regularly in the media – presumably because they have nothing important to write about and to my mind they are responsible for confusing people about how to maintain health.

In the last few months in my health food shop in Garstang I have seen demand suddenly rise then fall after a while for kefir (it is good for your gut and immune system) and inulin (it helps you sleep) – we had inulin last year too as it helps burn off brown fat! I won’t bore you with the details about that but the information is out there if you want to find it.

Before that it was raspberry ketones for weight loss! All these trends come and go over a few months as people look for a magic bullet to help their health improve. It is human nature to look for the easy options and a magic pill is so tempting to many of us but I have news for you….there is no magic bullet. There is no magic pill that will give you extraordinary good health all your life.

In my opinion much of this idea stems from the pharmaceutical industry who by stealth have brainwashed us into thinking our health is maintained by taking pills. It is not. They have bought up our healthcare systems and turned them into massive dispensing systems for countless drugs handed out without thought or logic.

A simple example of this is that millions of people are given anti inflammatory drugs when they have an injury. So let’s unravel the almost pavlovian response from many people to take such a drug when they have pain:

First of all, what is acute inflammation? It is a rapid response by your body to an injury – it causes swelling, immobility, redness, heat and pain – but why does it do this? Simple – the acute inflammatory response happens to heal your injury, yes, that’s right, it is a HEALING response. Which begs the question…if acute inflammation heals you why on earth would you take an anti inflammatory that actually suppresses your body’s attempts at fixing you. There is no logic in doing this and in my experience, repeatedly suppressing your body in this way leads to worse trouble down the line such as damaged joints, weakened soft tissues and chronic pain. However, it is inconvenient to think of it like this so we are fed the message that pain is bad so get rid of the pain with a pill.

Yet pain is our friend…just look at the terrible condition called Congenital Insensitivity to Pain (CIP) where children with this problem will eat scalding hot food or bite off their own tongue! Pain protects us so look for WHY you have pain and get it fixed if you can.

Sadly, because of media bombardments and misleading advertising along with a medical system that focuses on disease, we are left without any sense of how to maintain health and look for snippets of miracle cures in the media.

But good health is not a pill – it is a way of life – actually a pleasurable way of life. Take joy in cooking real food from raw, high quality organic ingredients. Ensure you have a balanced diet (and yes, CBD undoubtedly has a role to play in a balanced diet) Exercise and stretch your body every day and laugh a lot! Ensure your relationships are based on mutual respect and love and live in a clean environment. You own the keys to your health, not snippets in newspapers or pills from drug companies.

Enjoy your days

Nick Tofalos

Cannabis Trade Association Member

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