October 3, 2001
In this update, I'm going to get
back to what I do. I'm going to echo my own internal voice
that commands me to re-commit to helping people grow, except
this time it's with a greater ferocity and priority than ever
before. Yes, for all of us, it's comeback time.
We all hit a huge bump in the road.
We were all completely thrown from the pursuit of "life as
we know it." Now it's time to recover, to find our footing,
and to move forward. As human beings that's our nature. We
treasure achievement. We value excellence. By holding firmly
to our inherent values we remain strong, even in the face
of world-changing atrocity. We still haven't settled in on
what the changes mean to us long term. The strong economy
we all enjoyed is suddenly thrown into uncertainty. We, as
a population, have new anger and new fear. We all were forced
to re-examine and appreciate the importance of family, of
loved ones, and of caring. Where all of this will lead will
only be determined by the passage of time, but we can be sure
for at least the next five years, people will remember what
happened September 11.
posted my thoughts at this site as an Update eight days after
we all watched in horror. For me that posting served to release
many of the feelings that were previously unfamiliar to me.
If you haven't read it yet go to my previous
Update. I was astounded by the massive response! As of
October 3, 2001, I've received over 1750 responses . . . and
they keep coming. I've posted many of the responses
as people have found great solace in bonding . . . in realizing
that others feel as they do. After reading through a few hundred
responses, it's clear that while the great majority of responders
initially questioned the importance (or lack thereof) of their
personal commitments to fitness, the underlying consensus
demanded that once the feelings of confusion are put aside,
fitness takes on an even greater importance, greater perhaps
than ever in history.
time to full appreciate the true benefits of a fitness commitment.
Sure, we all know it makes you look better in the mirror,
we all know it allows you to release and burn fat, to develop
strength, and to ward of some of the risk factors of heart
disease. If that were all that a fitness commitment could
bring about, the question of its relevance or importance would
instantly be dismissed. After watching an entire nation, perhaps
an entire world, enter a state of mourning, a state where
negative emotions push aside those we strive to experience
on a daily basis, we have to recognize a fitness commitment's
value in making people feel better.
Cortisol is a hormone. It's considered
the "Stress Hormone" as its production is increased
during periods of stress. Cortisol is catabolic. It breaks
apart tissue. It's not an enemy, as it does have a vital function.
When we are incapacitated due to trauma, it allows our bodies
to feed off of existing tissue for fuel, preserving life and
allowing for periods of decreased food intake that often accompany
such trauma. Many of us, however, are creating cortisol at
elevated levels because of our own internal stress reactions.
Mental stress and Emotional stress can be detrimental in their
affects upon the immune system (L-Glutamine is used in greater
abundance during periods of stress, thus the immune system
has less of this important fuel source). These stresses also
take on a self perpetuating property that leads to gradual
deterioration. If you don't feel "up," everything
becomes more difficult, and getting to the gym, getting to
a supportive meal, or going out for a walk or jog soon feel
as if they are going to require excessive effort.
Here's the good news. Cortisol
has buffers and antagonists. Some of them you've heard of
under the heading of "endorphins." Endorphins are
actually mood-altering substances with a morphine-like effect
upon the brain (without the negative side effects). They are
released in response to an exercise induced heart rate elevation,
where blood flow is enhanced and oxygen usage increased. Endorphins
actually lower the levels of cortisol in the blood stream.
It's clear that there is more than a psychological link between
exercise and mood. It's chemical! Produce supportive chemicals
and not only do they keep the destructive ones in check, but
they reverse the process cortisol initiates. Rather than getting
caught up in a downward spiral of stress and despression,
endorphins lead to a sense of "I Can!" Get your
body re-acquainted with supportive exercise and eating and
you spark an ongoing internal drive that propels you to be
better today than yesterday, better tomorrow than you are
the last hundred years, more than one hundred studies have
examined the relationship between exercise and mental state,
specifically its impact upon depression. An article title
"The Influence of Exercise on Mental Health" published
in the Sports Research Digest (Dec 1997) suggested that exercise
decreases depression more than relaxation training or casual
recreation, both regularly accepted behavior modification
depression "treatments," and also suggested that
it's positive impact rivals that of psychotherapy.
The post September 11 incidence
of diagnosed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder continues to escalate
at an unprecedented rate and accordingly, prescriptions of
SRI drugs (serotonin reuptake inhibitors) are reaching an
all time high. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter. Nuerotransmitters
are the chemicals your brain cells use to communicate. The
serotonin system is the largest system in the brain and it
is responsible for many aspects of mood, appetite, desire,
and movement. While there are many neurotransmitters, each
one having its own specific roles and functions, serotonin
is the one that seems to sort of orchestrate the brain soup.
Production of serotonin appears to dictate how much of the
other neurotransmitters are produced. When you have more serotonin
flowing, you feel better. Without question. Serotonin is the
"feel good" brain chemical. SRI drugs keep serotonin
circulating longer, but they are limited in their long term
benefits and there is unquestionable potential for side effects.
I have a feeling you know where I'm going with this. Exercise
increases serotonin production! Naturally! Healthfully!
The indisputable link between exercise,
fitness, and brain function, the indisputable link between
what you do and how you feel, offers clear evidence that in
times of depression or trauma, exercise and supportive eating
become vital ingredients in speeding the recovery process.
The National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder recognizes
the importance of exercise and includes the following among
their suggestions for coping with memories of trama:
- Get back to your everyda routines.
Familiar habits can be very comforting
- Eat healthy food
- Take time to walk, stretch,
I mentioned earlier that people
have found a renewed sense of the true value and importance
of their loved ones. If you are going to be there for those
you love, if you're going to at some level provide for their
security, comfort, and well being, you absolutely must take
control of your own. There is no better insurance policy than
knowing you're going to wake up tomorrow in a body that functions
optimally, with your mind and muscles aligned for excellence.
So, regardless of what you've done thus far, re-commit right
now! Not only to an exercise program, but to beginning a process
that will lead you to the Best You've Ever Been! With a population
of driven Americans functioning at peak levels, we rise from
the ashes of horror to find a greater position in this world,
a greater strength and unity, and a new outlook toward the
future, not one held back by fear, but one fueled by potential!
Wishing you love, fitness, and
If you haven't
read the last update and
the follow up comments,
read them now. If you're ready to lanch forward, to get on
a supportive program, and to begin a process toward being
the best you've ever been, go to the Site
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updates below. With clarity comes power and this site is designed
100% to provide complete clarity in the mystical maze of fitness
and weight loss alternatives. As always, I welcome your feedback.
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