Old Normal vs. New Normal
Over the last couple of centuries, our lifestyles have changed at an alarming rate. With the introduction of technology and machinery to make our lives easier, we all reap the rewards of less labor and an abundance of readily available foods. Our bodies however are yet to catch up with the changes. There are three major adaptations that the body is yet to catch up with – the change in the quality of nutrition, the increase in stress, and the decrease in movement.
We can’t deny that we just don’t live like we used to. What was once ‘normal’ 200 years ago is not at all what we consider to be ‘normal’ today. Our lifestyle, stress levels, and nutrition are rapidly changing at a faster rate than we can adapt. And not in a good way.
In 1927, Kings College University of London initiated a study on the chemical composition and organic and mineral components of food. The results were published in 1940 and since then, subsequent studies have been conducted with their results being compared to the results of those found by Kings College University. The findings? An alarming level of mineral depletion.
What Are The Hazardous Factors the stress imposed?
1. The main culprit in this disturbing trend is due to depletion of nutrients in the soil that all fruit and vegetables must grow in. Researchers put this decline down to the rise of agricultural practices designed to improve the size, growth rate, and resistance rather than nutrition.
We all need certain amounts of minerals and nutrients for our bodies to function optimally. Under consumption of minerals and nutrients leads to many health implications such as a decline in physical and mental function and ability, low immunity, therefore, increased risk of disease, brittle bones, digestive issues, weight problems, and more. It’s really important to supplement your diet with good quality supplementation no matter how balanced you are with your eating.
2. The second biggest change that has occurred over time, and that our bodies weren’t created to handle, is chronic stress. The body has a built-in stress response which is well known as being our ‘fight or flight response. When you are stuck with a threat to survival or a perceived harmful event such as a tiger leaping into your path, or being mugged in the street, your body’s acute stress response kicks in. This is an exceptional response system when the stress response is just that – acute. It gets you in a position to be able to fight for survival or to run away. Once the stressor has been removed – either the tiger ran away or the mugger was defeated, your Parasympathetic Nervous System will work on rebalancing your body’s functions to a normal state.
But what happens when the stressor is constantly around? Well because the stress response can be activated not only in response to physical or psychological threats but also in expectation of them (worrying), the majority of people live in varying degrees of fight or flight mode. Having a constantly elevated Sympathetic Nervous System brings a huge amount of health implications, as our stress response was not meant for long-term elevation. A chronically elevated stress response can hinder muscle recovery, memory, cognitive and sensory skills, reproduction, sleep and you would more likely fall victim to infectious diseases. Because of the lifestyles we have created for ourselves with our attempt to make life easier and better, we worry more than ever about utilizing a life-saving response for non-life threatening scenarios. Because of this, stress management must be incorporated into your lifestyles such as walking, stretching, yoga, meditation, and no electronics 2 hours before bed.
3. The third biggest change that isn’t doing our health any favors is the decline of the movement. It’s not natural to the human body to be sedentary for 23 hours of the day and then kills yourself for an hour with exercise. It’s normal to be in fairly constant movement, seeking out shelter and food. With a decrease in movement, and an increase in processed, calorie-dense foods, it’s a recipe for weight gain and further health implications.
One of the biggest habits you can make is to move. We’ve all heard it – take the stairs instead of the elevator, stand instead of sitting, and get off the bus a stop earlier. Whatever it is you do to get moving, just stop going for prolonged periods of time without moving your body, even if it’s just to stand up and stretch.
We live a completely different life to those a decade or two ago. We’ve made things simpler, yet more complicated and in the process, we have forgotten about who we are, what we need, and what we are designed to do. Eat the highest quality of fruit and vegetables that you can, organic or homegrown is the best option. Supplement your diet where you need to, lower your stress levels and eliminate the stressors that you can, and get moving!
Contact OBF Gyms for a complimentary assessment to get started with one of our trainers today!