Your Happy Pill (Guest Blog)

Excerpted from DDworkouts.com


The Iron is the best antidepressant I have ever found. There is no better way to fight weakness than with strength. Once the mind and body have been awakened to their true potential, it’s impossible to turn back.” – Henry Rollins

First, let’s define “depression,” as I’m sure it means different things to different people.

Excerpted from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3674785

Depression as a mood state is characterized by feeling sad, discouraged, or unhappy, while depression as a clinical condition is a psychiatric disorder in which diagnostic criteria require five or more depressive symptoms, one of which must include either depressed mood or loss of interest or pleasure along with at least four other depressive symptoms including significant weight loss, sleep disturbance, psychomotor agitation or retardation, fatigue or loss of energy, feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt, diminished ability to think or concentrate, and recurrent thoughts of death.

There are mountains of scientific literature that support the efficacy of exercise in the treatment of mood disorders that can be access via PubMed. An article that can be found here http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC474733/ compiles findings from several years of studies on the benefits of exercise for clinically depressed patients. I found the following section to be particularly concise:

“Exercise appears to be an effective treatment for depression, improving depressive symptoms to a comparable extent as pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy. Observational studies suggest that active people are less likely to be depressed, and interventional studies suggest that exercise is beneficial in reducing depression. It appears that even modest levels of exercise are associated with improvements in depression, and while most studies to date have focused on aerobic exercise, several studies also have found evidence that resistance training also may be effective. While the optimal “dose” of exercise is unknown, clearly any exercise is better than no exercise. Getting patients to initiate exercise —and sustain it – is critical.”

Now, I’d like to focus on two specific points from the above paragraph…

  1. “Getting patients to initiate exercise — and sustain it — is critical”
  2. “The optimal “dose” of exercise is unknown”

I’ve said over and over again to clients and anyone else that would listen, that if there’s one common thread between healthy, fit people, it’s consistency. Really, nothing else matters nearly as much, as long as you show up when you’re supposed to show up and conduct yourself in an intelligent manner that’s suited to your objectives. This becomes especially critical in formulating a plan that is aimed towards goals of not only physical health, but also mental health.

My keys to improved consistency in exercise are:

  • Learn workouts that you can do at home. If you get home from work at the end of the day and driving 10-20 minutes to the nearest large commercial gym full of juiceheads isn’t your idea of a good time, there are plenty of ways you can get to work in your living room. I dealt with the topic of home based workouts here: http://ddworkouts.com/2014/01/30/snowed-in-workout/
  • Learn workouts that you can do outdoors. A park or your backyard is ideal because being in the great outdoors is, in itself, an excellent mood enhancer. The possibilities for outdoor workouts are limitless. I love to use my imagination when devising them: http://ddworkouts.com/2014/04/01/the-art-of-improvisation/
  • Pace yourself. Work hard, but don’t work so hard in a single session that you have to take the rest of the week off. This bring me to my next bullet point…

Let’s address the mythical “optimal dose.”  There are few words in the fitness domain that are as misleading as “optimal” — one of those corporate-america style buzzwords bandied about to make the speaker sound more sophisticated than he or she really is. The truth is that you and I could perform the exact same training protocol for a year and end up with completely different results. Individual physiology will always thwart our best attempts at arriving at a one-size-fits-all workout program for this purpose or any other.

I’ll deal directly with the issue of proper exercise intensities for mental health.

It’s important to keep in mind that when performed at elevated intensities, exercise causes systemic stress to the body. In fact, the generally agreed-upon symptoms of over-training are very close to the symptoms of clinical mood disorders.

Here are a few..

  • Change in sleep patterns, difficulty sleeping
  • Increased number of sickness and/or injuries
  • Lack of enthusiasm
  • Decrease in appetite
  • Irritability

See what I mean? An over-trained body will end up worse off, resulting in undesirable effects. This means that extra care must be taken not to employ “get ready for the beach” style workouts if your goal is overall health and mood enhancement.

Then, add about 30 minutes of low intensity cardiovascular exercise a few days per week, such as walking, bike riding, kayaking, etc. When I say “low intensity” I mean employ a pace that gets your heart rate up but doesn’t force you to breathe out of your mouth. If you start huffing and puffing, take the intensity down a bit. Remember that consistency is key and that for the purpose of mental health, a workout should leave the trainee feeling energized instead of exhausted afterwards.

Finally, my advice for advanced trainees who want to make progress in the gym while staying/getting happy:

  • Minimize overtraining risk by stopping most sets a rep or two short of muscular failure.
  • Spread out the workload so you’re performing workouts more frequently, but with the overall volume distributed over more training days. When you’re in a bad frame of mind, I find it’s better to do more “light” days and take fewer days of complete rest. Rest days mean you’re going to sit around feeling sorry for yourself, so get in the gym five or six days per week.
  • Get adequate sleep, but try not to oversleep. The right amount of sleep is highly individual, but make sure you’re going to bed at about the same time and waking up at the same time. If you need more sleep, go to bed earlier rather than sleeping in.
  • Eat more protein. Trust me, just do it.

Sources

Is Exercise a Viable Treatment for Depression?” James A. Blumenthal, Ph.D., Patrick J. Smith, Ph.D., Benson M. Hoffman, Ph.D. ACSMs Health Fit J. 2012 July/August; 16(4): 14-21.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3674785/

http://www.oldtimestrongman.com/strength-articles/iron-henry-rollins

Blue Blood

Sometimes when you are doing something as simple as walking on the beach there appears an unexpected opportunity to learn profound things about the world and its humblest inhabitants. My dear Uncle Al joined me on such a walk many years ago. On a sparsely populated area of the New Jersey shore we came upon dozens of small male and larger female horseshoe crabs mating in the warm May weather. The females were laying their eggs in the moist sand. My Uncle, who had been an observer of this process for years, explained that these pre-historic rituals dated to around 1/2 billion years ago adding to the paradox of this primitive arthropod known affectionately as a living fossil. He gently lifted one to show me the structure of the crab, carefully avoiding the tail, not because it could harm him, but rather because of the importance of the tail in enabling them to turn over. If the tail of the horseshoe crab is damaged, the little fella would not be able to maneuver and flip. The horseshoe crab, a misnomer, is not really a crab at all, but rather an arthropod and invertebrate with no spine.  Horseshoe crabs have fascinated me ever since that first encounter.

The eggs that survive grow and  molt many times until fully grown. The eggs that are eaten by shore birds are part of the ecological balance and are amazingly important to human quality and quantity of life. If fewer horseshoe crab eggs are available as a result of diminished populations, then the Red Knot birds in Delaware, New Jersey and South Carolina also end up on endangered lists. The significance of this is the effect on both declining horseshoe crabs and medical science. As it turns out the horseshoe crab provides a life saving liquid used in biotechnology that affects anyone who has ever been to the doctor or a hospital, which is just about all of us.

The liquid which at present only comes from the horseshoe crabs around the world,  has to be harvested in laboratories. The horseshoe crabs are taken from the beaches and brought to labs, turned on their sides and an instrument to draw the blood is attached near their hearts. One quart of this precious liquid is valued at fifteen thousand dollars. The crabs are then returned to the sea usually within the three day period because the gills need to remain moist. It is estimated that between 15-30% are so stressed they don’t survive. Looking at both perspectives or the middle path it becomes increasingly obvious that the labs are doing everything possible to insure the survival after returning them to the sea. The researchers are also working around the clock to produce a synthetic alternative to bleeding the crabs. The value of the liquid blue blood is so important to medical science because anyone receiving a routine injection at the doctors office or injectables for insulin, knee replacements or the routine use of hospital instruments is safer from the potential of life threatening infection thanks to our little horseshoe crab friends.

The horseshoe crab swims on its back for most of the year to migrate to sand or mud. In the spring, several males fertilize the female eggs and after many years they grow and molt and emerge almost in the same area where they were born. They have survived millions of years due to their protective blood stream which prevents the ocean bacteria from killing them off like 90% of other pre-historic creatures. The horseshoe crab, unlike vertebrates have no hemoglobin. They use hemocyanin to carry oxygen and due to copper in hemocyanin their blood is blue.

The technical process includes an understanding that Amebocytes from the blood are used to make Limulus Amoebocyte Lysate (LAL) which in turn is used to detect bacterial endotoxins in medicine. They detect E.coli, for example, on the medical instruments and devices mentioned earlier. The gram stains normally used can not detect and do not recognize endotoxins leaving medical technology no choice but to use this method.

In addition the careful handling of the horseshoe crab harvesting is set by law in the states of NJ, SC and Delaware and they help fund the research of a synthetic compound. Finally, it has been suggested that feeding the little guys a diet high in copper before release might help reduce the stress and the loss of 30% of their blood supply during the process. It is certainly worthy of research by the scientific community.

So, as we walk along the shores with our children and grandchildren it might be interesting to teach our future leaders the respect, compassion and value to human life that Limulus polyphemus, the “American” Horseshoe Crab provide to all of us.

~Nora D’Ecclesis


Dance of the Peacock Spider

Entwined together…

There is a small spider less than a centimeter found in Australia called the peacock. The male peacock spider dances for love by chasing the female with a series of abdominal thrusts and producing an ornately colorful fan off his tail. He moves his appendages in what looks like a dance of perhaps a creative traffic cop’s arm movement  to offer direction to drivers.

Several males dance for one female simultaneously and when they sense she lacks interest and obviously rejects them, they flee quickly to avoid being her lunch! The one lucky male who is accepted by the female is not much better off because after mating she devours him anyway.

The initial attraction is charged with all the attributes of the most profound infatuation in life, the in love at first sight moment. The twin flames are madly in love and the rest of the world is of little importance. Human dating is a dance, ritualistic by cultural norms and loaded with rejection, insecurity and yes, peacock strutting. It either produces moving into relationship and joy, or abandonment and rejection. Thankfully, human dating rituals don’t end in a New Jersey trip to the Meadowlands swamp. 

https://www.amazon.com/Twin-Flame-ebook/dp/B073L5155D/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Tick-Borne Press Release

New Book Aims to Help People Protect Themselves and Their Families from Tick-Borne Diseases

LOS ANGELES, CA – 07/11/2017 (PRESS RELEASE JET) — Experts are sounding the alarm bells about rising incidences of tick-borne diseases. Contracting a disease from a tick bite used to be an uncommon occurrence, but some factors are causing tick populations to grow which puts people and pets at a greater risk. “Tick-Borne” from renowned health and wellness author, Nora D’Ecclesis, is a recently released, comprehensive guide to the various diseases transmitted by ticks in the United States. Nora believes the best protection against disease is awareness.

There is no definitive answer as to why doctors are seeing more and more cases of tick-borne diseases in the United States. One theory is that the warming climate has allowed some species of tick to move further north where the environment has become more hospitable. This has increased human exposure to ticks. Another school of thought suggests that a lack of predators in some areas of the United States has allowed the population of animals like deer and mice to explode. Since ticks feed on these animals, their food source has become abundant, allowing them to grow and multiply. Whatever the case may be; protection and detection is essential.

Tick-borne diseases can be incredibly debilitating and, in some cases, fatal. Lyme disease is one of the most well-known tick-borne illnesses but it is not the only one that people should be aware of. Cases of Babesiosis have exploded; increasing over 2000% in recent years. Powassan virus is a devastating illness that can have long term effects on the central nervous system and even prove to be fatal in some cases. How to identify and protect against these diseases and more is all covered in Nora D’Ecclesis’ book, “Tick-Borne,” which is now available in paperback or digital on Amazon.

About

Nora D’Ecclesis is an accomplished writer and poet. Her #1 best-selling book “The Retro Budget Prescription” the top Kindle book downloads in the “Business/Self-Help” category for over a year. Nora graduated Kean University with post-graduate degrees in Administration and Education. 2017 has been an incredible year for Nora. In May she was a finalist in the International Book Awards for Spirituality/Eastern Religions. In June, Nora released her first novel, “Twin Flames,” with co-writer and #1 New York Times Bestselling Author, William R. Forstchen. When she isn’t writing, Nora can be found kayaking, hiking, Nordic skiing, and spending time with her family and dogs.

Media Contacts:

Company Name: Backyard Siblings, LLC
Full Name: Nora D’Ecclesis

Twin Flame now available

twin flame cover

We prepare for love with open hearts, great expectations and the naiveté of young teens. However, virtually all soul mates have experienced a point in the vagaries of the relationship where some disagreement or disappointment results in one of the partners threatening or abandoning the other partner. Disagreements escalate to fighting and feelings of despair creep in so that the partner will not listen to requests for compromise. Twin flame soul-mates are whole souls long before blending with a partner — they do not become whole as a result of joining together. The flames parallel each other in love, support, trust and sharing their lives in equanimity. They accept the individuality of the partner and provide a loving environment in which to carry on the joy of living together.

Click here to purchase Twin Flame