Whole Life Magazine

December / January 2016

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Page 15 of 43

healthy living By Laura G. Owens Rock Body YOUR BENEFITS OF PRESENT-MOMENT AWARENESS DURING STRESS CALCIUM SUPPLEMENTS MAY HARM HEART WORK OFF STEAM AT THE GYM? — MAYBE NOT… I t's a better bet (and safer) to eat your calcium to maintain bone health than to swallow supplements. According to the National Institute of Health, about 43 percent of American adult men and women take a supplement that includes cal- cium. And yet researchers with Johns Hopkins Medical found after analyzing 10 years of medical tests in over 2,700 people, that calcium supplements may raise the risk of plaque build- up in the arteries and heart damage. Eating calcium-rich foods however, may be protective. "There is clearly something different in how the body uses and responds to supplements versus intake through diet that makes it riskier," says nutritionist John Anderson. "It could be that supplements contain calcium salts, or it could be from taking a large dose all at once that the body is unable to pro- cess. Based on this evidence, we can tell our patients that there doesn't seem to be any harm in eating a heart-healthy diet that includes calcium-rich foods, and it may even be benefi cial for the heart." W e've all heard the advice "never go to bed angry." It seems going to the gym angry isn't a good idea either. A study published in the American Heart Association's journal Circulation, found an association between people who work out when they're emotionally upset or angry, and a two-times higher risk for a heart attack within the fi rst hour of exercise. And risk may be three-times higher if someone does heavy physical exertion while they're seriously upset. Seems counter- intuitive but extreme emotional upset and exercise have sim- ilar effects on the body. "Both can raise blood pressure and heart rate, changing the fl ow of blood through blood vessels and reducing blood supply to the heart," explains Dr. Andrew Smyth, lead author on the study. "This is particularly import- ant in blood vessels already narrowed by plaque, which could block the fl ow of blood, leading to a heart attack." So, if you're upset and want to blow off steam at the gym, go for it, but bring your anger down with mindful breathing or other relaxation techniques before you pump iron or run that marathon. T empting as it is to distract yourself when you're uber stressed, if you hang in there and stay mindful in the moment, you cope better in the short and long run. In other words, mentally deal with a stressful event now, and you may not emotionally pay (as much) later. In a 2016 study published in the Journal of Research in Personality, researchers asked subjects to keep a daily stressful event journal and rate themselves on the following: • How much threat was posed by the event • How present-moment aware they were during the event • Their confi dence to effectively handle the event • How closely their response to the event was consistent with their values • How much they relied on distraction to take their mind off the event • The extent of their negative emotions during the day Researchers then analyzed the relationship between the variables and found that subjects who stayed present-moment aware rather than distract themselves during stress coped better during the event and one day after. It seems present-moment awareness conserves precious coping resources by lowering worry and rumination (repetitive thoughts). These banked coping resources then spill over to help people cope with the stress the next day. Short-term sacrifi ce, for long-term gain. 16 wholelifetimes.com

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