men’s Health Month
A perspective from owner, Geoff Rose, on preventative health.
As Men’s Health Month comes to a close, I am on the verge of finishing the Amen Clinic’s Brain Health certification. This nationwide clinic has the largest database of brain scans in the country in order to work with neurological disorders stemming from traumatic brain injury to mental health disorders. While taking this course, I can’t help but think what my own health will be when I’m older. As medicine has made major strides over the years it still seems that men struggle much more than women to take a proactive approach to their health. According to a Texas Tech health study men make half of the physician visits that women do.
For me, I see a tale of two stories of health in men in my family. My grandfather, Sidney, just turned 100 this month!. While Sydney’s hearing isn’t the best, he is mobile, happy, and healthy. Though, my grandfather on my mom’s side, Ken, sadly passed away 4 years ago at the age of 86. While they had totally different path’s in life, they both had a huge impact on me in different ways.
Sidney was raised in Minot, North Dakota. He grew tough skin as an adolescent growing up during the Great Depression, not to mention dealing with the blistering cold winters. He was a strong athlete who wasn’t so keen on staying in North Dakota after high school. As one who didn’t believe in limitations, he took a trip out to California after his senior year to try out for college basketball teams with the hopes of landing a scholarship. While he didn’t reach his goal for basketball, he did eventually leave North Dakota as he was accepted into the Naval Academy. After graduating, he boarded a submarine and helped sink 13 Japanese ships during the war. When his service was completed, he started a family and became a successful salesman. With his wit and determination he founded a family business that fulfilled the needs of major retail stores around the country. Sydney always believed he could achieve anything he wanted if he put his mind to it. He has been a huge inspiration for me to pursue my passions and to never be deterred.
Kenneth was raised by his grandparents in Fishkill, NY. He became an automotive enthusiast as a way to keep himself out of trouble. He loved to work on cars and boats as he was gifted with incredible hands and an industrious mind. He landed a job at the state-of-the-art IBM lab in Poughkeepsie as a technician. He was a part of a team that developed new computer parts to help IBM push the technological boundaries. As his career was blooming, he was thrown a curve ball. At the age of 32 he was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis; a disabling disease that attacks the central nervous system. He battled through for another 30 years at IBM in order to provide for his loving wife and daughter. At the age of 62 he was diagnosed with dementia and was forced to retire. As a young man, I watched him slowly lose his ability to walk and function around the house. Eventually, he needed to enter a nursing home to be cared for properly. Though his body and brain were slowly failing him, he still had this outpouring of energy when I would see him, but it was very focused. It was all for my grandmother. He couldn’t bear to leave her side; he outlived every neurologist’s expectations. He taught me that love and family are the most powerful things we have.
I’ve been in the health industry for 10 years, I am constantly studying to better my understanding of neurological functions, biomechanics, and physiology. In my line of work I continue to run into physical congenital issues like scoliosis, hip dysplasia or sports related injuries, but rarely do I have someone asking me to prevent “what could be” neurological issues like Alzheimers or Parkinson’s or diseases like cancer or MS. While there is a lot of talk about gene testing for probable disease markers, there are more studies starting to focus on; obesity, child obesity, traumatic brain injury, hypertension, alcohol abuse, diabetes, smoking, and high cholesterol as risk factors for neurological and visceral diseases. With Type 1 Diabetes being the exception, all of these factors are 100% preventable. It comes down to healthy lifestyle and preventive measures. We should take note that health insurance companies are giving reimbursements for gym memberships and are interested in data from our fitness trackers. They all know that these habits can lead to healthier lives. It should be noted, that according the Amen clinic, that exercise decreases the APEO e4 —gene associated with increased chances of Alzhiemer’s- impression.
As a 32 year old, my family health history sits on polar opposites. I certainly can’t wait in fear to see if I have MS or early onset dementia. I know very well that I can put myself in a position to be in control of such diseases with yearly check ups, blood tests, health screenings, ect.I plan to engage in consistent action to ensure I don’t fall behind. Though, as I finish the Amen Clinic certification there is a common theme when it comes to treating Dementia, anxiety, vascular disease; diet and exercise. They are a part of every single treatment plan the Amen clinic has. According to Johns Hopkins medicine 80% of your immune system lives in your gut, the better your diet, the stronger your immune system. For exercise, it helps relieve stress, burns toxins, and demands oxygen to your brain. These are “no brainers” that can help stave off visceral and neurological dysfunction, ultimately giving yourself a better chance to have a healthy, high quality of life.
My grandfathers are my heroes; they taught me how to be fearless, value family, and most importantly, how to love. I plan on being healthy enough to do the same for my family.
mental Health Awareness Month
Health Month is important to build an understanding of not only what peers or family members are going through, but potentially taking a look your own habits and lifestyle to see how you can be helping yourself. REP has put together a quick run down of understanding what our thoughts and emotions come from and how we can make changes in our habits to lighten the “mental load”.
How we react to emotions can define our relationships personally and professionally. With today’s world being so fast paced and a large demand for instant gratification we rarely have time to reflect on our emotions. This can limit our ability empathize with others as well as take a deep look at ourselves. Over 40 Million Americans suffer from either depression or anxiety. It is important for those who are suffering that they cannot blame themselves and there are holistic, simple ways to help themselves.
It is important to understand where and how your emotions come about: your nervous system, which is powered by your brain.
Depression: Predominantly a Frontal lobe issue (low activity) that dictates our emotions, judgement, reasoning, and empathy.
Anxiety: Predominantly an issue with our Basal Ganglia (a system deep in our brain that helps us work through and shift thoughts). Those with Anxiety tend stay with a thought for an extended period of time apposed to shifting away from it. Something to remember: every time we have a thought we produce a chemical reaction in the brain that could be good or bad. So how do we start producing good chemicals?
Write it out!
- Get your thoughts, concerns, and worries on paper.
- Ask yourself: Can it be true? Can I prove that it’s true? If you can’t prove that it’s true, then why worry about it?
- Create potential solutions and rid your self of those thoughts. Take a deep breathe and take a look at the other side of the equation. There will be a light that can guide you to a solution.
Giving the Brain what it needs
The Brain needs activation and Oxygen. We have all heard it a thousand times: EXERCISE! But Why? When we exercise our body demands Oxygen, the more we demand the more we can get to the brain, the more that gets to the brain, the healthier it becomes :). Based on the Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience study of Serotonin levels (a neurotransmitter that regulates mood, behavior, and sleep) cardiovascular training is the most efficient way to create Serotonin. Exercise also helps us release Endorphins in our body, also known as the “happy hormone”. It should also be noted that playing sports takes a massive amount of coordination. This fires up the Pre-frontal Cortex, located in the Frontal Lobe. The more activation we get here the more we wake up the Frontal Lobe.
It is clinically proven that meditation gets blood to the Frontal Lobe and slowly powers down the other lobes. This can help create more synergy in the Brain and allow for proper Frontal Lobe function. An important aspect of meditation is rhythmic breathing. This activates the vagal nerve, which has a direct correlation to the Basal ganglia, allowing your brain to shift from thought to thought more efficiently. Find a yoga teacher who specializes in mediation or download an application on your phone to get started.
Nutrition for the Brain
What to keep out: Foods that will create inflammation: Fried foods, high levels of sugar, processed foods, and in some cases; gluten and dairy. The less inflammation in the body the more efficient the blood flow to the brain.
What to add to the diet: Complex carbs: sweet potatoes, brown rice, quinoa, etc. Complex carbs promote high levels of Serotonin an important chemical that helps calm the brain down.
- Fish oil: known to block Cortisol; the stress hormone.
- Rhodiola: a plant that supports proper function to the Pre-Frontal Cortex.
- Ashwandha: a plant that reduces cortisol levels and increase blood flow to the Frontal Lobe.
Virtual Training Program
he intention of each movement. The library also contains a stretching routine for you to pair with your workout or use on its own for a “recovery” day. The library will be updated once a month. Access to this library is $15 per month.
If you prefer tailored workouts, REP is will happily build you a customized workout program. This includes 4 specialized workouts a month, with the intention that we
Lastly, the trainers at REP are doing half hour live Zoom and FaceTime sessions to create as much of a realistic session as we can during this time. Although it is not quite the same as being in person in the gym, it still serves as a more intimate, personal session for clients to get a workout in. FaceTime/Zoom session cost $45 per half hour.
Coronavirus has wreaked havoc on our lifestyles, the economy, and our stress levels. While a lot of our stress can be coming from being cramped up at home or the stock market tanking it really boils down to us “not having control”. We thrive in an environment wherewe dictate our own social plans, how we get around, and we just don’t have that right now.
The virus is tricky as can be picked up so easily; it can last on surfaces for days, it can be dormant in our system for up to two weeks without us knowing, not to mention, it can be contracted through air particles.While this is a worldwide pandemic that we can’t seem to slow down, we do have to look at what we can control in this case. We can control our sleeping habits, we can control our thought process, we can still exercise, we can still talk to our friends -thanks technology-, and though it’s a pain to go to the grocery store; we can still control what we eat. At the end of the day all of these things can helpus manage our immune system. While the thought of contracting Coronavirus is scary, we have to ensure we are as prepared as possible if we do happen to catch it. It’s time to boost your immune system so you can limit the potential effects of the virus. See below for ways we can boost our immune system.
**If you don’t read any further please take this home with you: 80% of our immune system lives in our gut. So the foods we decide to eat will have a major impact on the integrity of our immune system****
Ways to improve our immune system:
Diet – As mentioned above the quality of our digestive system will dictate how well our immune system can function. Our digestive tract contains “immune cells” that are activated by gut flora (good bacteria), these cells attack pathogens coming into the tract from the food we eat and ultimately stop the pathogens from entering our bloodstream. Gut flora flourishes when we eat vegetables and fruits as well as foods that have active cultures such as yogurt, kimchi, and Kombucha. The flora can become overwhelmed when we consume fried foods, artificial sweeteners, and processed foods.
Sleep – Getting a great night of sleep is helpful for a number reasons, but mainly from the production of hormones that increase our growth, energy levels, tissue repair, regulate our appetite, and regulate our blood sugar. Sleep also helps our body produce T- Cells. T- Cells are designed to fight cells that have been infected with a virus or pathogen. Two of the hormones that effect our energy levels, Adrenaline and Noradrenaline, are low during sleep. This comes into play as the lower these hormones the “stickier” the T-Cells are in order to attach to the infected cell.
Exercise – Vigorous exercise elevates our body temperature which leads us to sweat out toxins and can prevent bacteria growing in the body. As we know, exercises increases our blood circulation, which will increase the flow of white blood cells (antibodies) that fight pathogens.
Increase of Vitamin D, C, and Zinc –
– Vitamin D increases the effectiveness and response rate of white blood cells How can you get it? SUNLIGHT!!!. Food sources include salmon, tuna, egg yolks, cheese, and whole milk.
– Vitamin C helps T cells and Phagocytes; immune cells that engulf bacteria, do their job. How can you get it? Food sources such as oranges, grapefruit, tomatoes, strawberries, and broccoli.
– Zinc fires up T- Cell activity and helps modulate the immune system so it doesn’t spiral out of control. How can you get it? Food sources such as red meat and poultry, salmon, eggs, nuts, seeds, and – believe it or not – dark chocolate.
Using supplements to boost vitamin D, C and zinc levels is fine as well, just make sure you take them with a “fatty” meal, like eggs or fish, to increase absorption.
Mindset – Stress does not help our immune system at all! High stress levels lead to a high production of Corticosteroid, which in turn, lower the amount of: B cells – produce anti-bodies and T- Cells, as mentioned before, that fight infected cells. Stress is certainly a major topic right now as the world has been affected by COVID-19. Ways to combat your stress: Breathing exercises, meditation, physical exercise, and sleep.
REP’s First Speed and Agility Clinic!
Last Month’s speed and agility clinic was an absolute blast! REP hosted 16 athletes who were tested in their vertical leap, agility, and linear speed. Each Athlete received a report card with their original scores, then received coaching in sprint mechanics, hip strengthening, and ground force training. The final part of the clinic was getting re-tested in each category to see if their scores improved. Each athlete improved in at least 2 categories!!!
REP wants to thank AJ Burton and Tom O’Neill for bring their expertise in performance training to this clinic. We will offer this clinic again in the Spring, stay tuned!
TAKE PRIDE IN YOUR
The heart of who we are, as individuals, is based on our personality, beliefs, temperament, and spirituality. Those traits bring out our ability to articulate our feelings and express our emotion to family, friends, and co-workers. These components are harbored and molded by our brain.
“Brain Aging” refers to the “wear and tear” and speed of your brain. We are born with 100 billion neurons (cells) in our brain. Neurons provide vital connections via synapses (electrical bridges) to keep information running smoothly. As we go through life we lose and rebuild these neurons, but as we get to the age of 40 the brain cannot keep up the re-building process and begins to decline.
Our habits and lifestyle can affect the age our brain. Brain Aging is caused by weakened Cerebral pathways and/or damaged neural material (think scar tissue) that destroy synapses. Both of these eventually slow down the transfer of information in the brain. This can lead to disorders such as Dementia, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s. What makes us so resilient as humans is the fact that we can keep this decline at bay if we take pride in our brain.
The largest “mass” of the brain that is divided into four lobes. These lobes are responsible for processing and responding to different types of sensory information.
A series of neurons (cells) that connect to send to a signal from one part of the brain to the other. Think of the electrical wiring in your home.
A series of neurons (cells) that connect to send to a signal from the brain to the spinal cord. This will allow us to complete and adjust physical movements. Think of an outlet, a plug, and a lamp. The electricity will move from the outlet, through the plug, to allow the lamp to turn on.
Area involved in long term memory and language processing B. Parietal Lobe: known as our “thought factory”, determines brain “speed” and “age” C. Frontal Lobe: involved in decision making, judgment, and emotions.
Organ that moves blood throughout the body’s circulatory system.
It all starts with understanding if you could be at high risk for early brain aging. Health issues such as cardiovascular disease, untreated depression or ADD, excess intake of alcohol, traumatic brain injury, and diabetes greatly increase your risk of early brain aging.
Next, you understand what foods can support a healthy brain.
- Omega 3’s, garlic, ginger, rosemary, berries, green tea, pomegranate are important to Brain health as they decrease inflammation. The less inflammation in the body, the better the blood flow to the brain.
- Oregano, cloves, thyme, berries, artichoke, and cocoa can fight off Free Radicals. Free radicals are toxins that can destroy the power source to cells, Mitochondria, essentially leading to cell death. The antioxidants in these foods will inhibit the free radicals before they can enforce any damage to cells.
Keeping a healthy blood sugar level is paramount to healthy gut and brain function. As sugar enters the body, your pancreas fires up insulin to transport the glucose (sugar) to your cells for energy. If the demand for insulin becomes extremely high the cell becomes resistant to insulin, the insulin builds up outside of the cell, like scar tissue, hindering the current of electricity (cell communication).
We know exercise burns calories and releases endorphins (happy hormones!), but it also helps strengthen our brain. When we do physical exercise our Cerebro-spinal pathway fires in order to coordinate and adjust our movements in order to complete the task. The more coordination you can challenge yourself with; ping pong, darts, or basketball, the more “strength” you can build in the brain. Exercise also protects the brain against free radicals, improves brain metabolism of cholesterol, improves oxygen levels to brain, and increases tone in blood vessels in the brain (this is vital to long term blood flow).
Lastly, find a hobby or an activity that you can fall in love with. This will give your brain the opportunity to shift away from the stresses and pressures we all face in life. Today’s world is fast and tough. Do something for yourself like hiking, joining a book club, or volunteering at a pet shelter where you can be in your element and meet like-minded people.
Taking pride in your brain can put anyone on the path to a long, happy life. It will give you the opportunity to embark on exciting journeys, a fulfilling career, and build strong personal relationships.