A surprising cause of illness.. and what to do about it

Live Healthy Anywhere, on the road and on the go.
The stress equation you need to know.
 
Ever feel like you are walking a tight rope with travel, stress, and health? 
 
It goes something like this:
 
Late nights + early mornings + frequent flights + travel stress + a dash of nerves from high stakes meetings + a workout + the passenger coughing on the back of your head + the germ-laden TSA bins…. and BAM!.. the sniffles and headache (or worse) hits. 
 
Stress and immunity is a significant challenge for us travelers. So too is sleep, a deficit of which is simply more stress. And even eating low quality, non-nutritional food puts undue stress on our bodies.
 
It is all interconnected: immunity, stress, sleep, nutrition.
 
Our bodies need quality nutrition, sufficient sleep and stress management to bolster immunity and longevity. 
 
Consider this equation: Stress + stress + too much additional unchecked stress = a compromised immune system = decreased defenses against daily germs and pathogens = a higher likelihood that you will get sick! 
 
For those of us who haven’t yet learned the lesson, it’s only a matter of time.
 
And “stress” is not always all bad. Stress such as exercise or the acute alertness and butterflies that accompany public speaking are examples of “good” stress. Good stress enhances our faculties, keeps us on our toes and helps us react appropriately in the moment.
 
But when combined with bad stressors of little sleep, environmental and emotional stress, etc, the good stress does not cancel out the bad stress – instead, the stress simply compounds
 
While I previously experienced this phenomenon (perhaps unconsciously) ad nauseam, the concept was overtly presented to me by a cycling coach when I was working, traveling, and also vying for a sponsored spot on a cycling squad to compete at the national championships (maximizing the extracurricular, of course). The coach would scale back my training plan when I was working 14-16+ hour days and/or traveling.. which coincidentally occurred most every week!
 
She would repeat: “All of this is stress on your body. Work is stress. Travel is stress. Training is big stress. You can’t stress your body this much and stay healthy, you just can’t. So we’ve got to dial it back”.  In my mind I was thinking “Lady! I’ve got to train hard and fast to get fast!” I thought myself more resilient and would sometimes (OK oftentimes) push it – but I would inevitably catch the sniffles, then the cold, and sometimes bronchitis. Seemed there was something to it after all.
 
Each of us has a limit, so knowing how to keep below the breaking point is key.
 
I think of it as walking a tight rope, or adding weights to the ends of a stick. We could be one late night or one processed sugary snack away from the slip or snap of sickness and setback.
 
I’ll be first to admit pushing boundaries.. often – mostly with work hours, stress and sleep. The twisted logic of finding the sweet spot of how much you can take and not get sick. Hint: Clean nutrition, superfoods, moderate exercise (and “checking out” on occasion) do help propel and support us in taking more. I’ll push and push, then pull back at the first sign of feeling ‘run down’ and step up the immunity protocol including Vitamin D3, C, Zinc and also Calcium Lactate. It’s what I do.
 
And so, hats off to you Coach Annabell for showing me the way. I’m not sulking as much today, although I still would like to claim superhuman powers. (ever searching and working on that) 
 
For more reading on what exercise is appropriate when you are feeling run down or exhausted, read here

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